Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

Primary tabs

Duckett Family

Albert Duckett

Albert Duckett (1907-1978) was born October 28, 1907 at Springfield, Illinois, the son of Reginald Vernon Duckett (1868-1953) and Lottie Louise Biggs Duckett (1879-1933).  He was the fifth of their seven children: Harold Vernon Duckett (1898-1968); Marcia Louise Duckett (1901-1994) married Ray Counihan (1886-1963); Florence Elizabeth Duckett (1902-1989) married Wallace Sale; Henry Oliver Duckett (1904-1990); Albert Duckett (1907-1978); Warren Biggs Duckett (1913-1996); and Doris Arline Duckett (1915-2004) married John Molek (1901-1994).  Reginald V. Duckett was born near Chapin, Morgan County, Illinois.  He made his livelihood working for the railroad division of the U.S. Postal Service.(1900 Sangamon Co., Illinois T623 343, p. 2A, ED 98 and 1910, 1920, and 1930 Cook Co., Illinois Federal Census T624_237, p. 7A, ED 5; T625_357, p. 2B, ED 3; and R413, p. 5A, ED 1980)

Artist

Before 1910, the Reginald V. Duckett family had relocated to Berwyn, Illinois where Albert Duckett was educated.  In 1926, he found employment with The Chicago American, a major Chicago journal, as an artist.  He later became a syndicated cartoonist with The Chicago Herald Examiner.  In 1936, the Ducketts relocated to Detroit where he was the editorial art director forThe Detroit Times, a William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) publication.  Some of Mr. Duckett’s historic assignments were covering the Alphonse Capone (1899-1947) trial in the fall of 1931 and spending a day with the Dionne quintuplets who were born in Ontario Province, Canada in 1934.(The Daily Herald, April 21, 1978, p. A2 and The Ocean Springs Record, December 2, 2004, p. B4)

Family

This image was made at Fort Hood, Texas in 1944.[ L-R: Helen Uhalt Duckett (1908-1987), Helen Merrill Duckett (1935-1997), Albert Bruce Duckett (b. 1940) and  Albert Duckett (1907-1978).(Courtesy of Bruce Duckett and Alice P. Duckett)

In September 1931, Albert Duckett married Helen Pauline Uhalt (1908-1987), a native of New Orleans.  Helen was the daughter of Richard Alfred Uhalt (1878-1924), an insurance salesman, and Nona Onion (1880-1958), a Hoosier, whose father, John Onion (1836-1911), owned a steamboat in the Crescent City.  After Helen’s father had expired at New Orleans in September 1924, Helen and Nona relocated to Berwyn, Cook County, Illinois.  Here they resided on Oak Park Avenue.  Helen worked for Bedell’s as an advertising manager while her mother who had remarried and was widowed from a Mr. Westermeier made her livelihood as a surgical nurse?(1930 Cook Co., Illinois R 413, p. 8B, ED 2912)

Helen and Albert Duckett had two children, Helen Merrill Duckett (1935-1997) born in Oak Park, Illinois and Albert Bruce Duckett (b. 1940) born in Detroit, Michigan.  During WW II, Mr. Duckett while a resident of Detroit enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army in July 1944 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.  He served his country illustrating weapons training procedures such as assembling and disassembling the M-1 Garrand rifle and hand grenades.(Albert B. Duckett, April 28, 2007, The Sun Herald,  November 16, 2003, p. I-1)

Helen M. Duckett

Helen Merrill Duckett (1935-1997), called Merrill, was born September 12, 1935 at Oak Park, Illinois.  She married Carey L. Frazier Jr. (1933-1973) in Harrison County, Mississippi on March 2, 1957.  The marriage ended and Merrill married Michael Thomas Burke also in Harrison County, Mississippi on March 30, 1968.  Her final wedding was with Samuel Hurd Spivey Jr.  (1923-1979). Their nuptials occurred in the 2nd Judicial District of Harrison County, Mississippi on January 18, 1975.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Circuit Court MRB 108, p. 209; MRB 137, p. 548; and 2nd JD MRB 10, p. 401) 

 

Merrill Duckett Spivey expired on November 3, 1997.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi Cemetery.

Albert Bruce Duckett

Albert B. Duckett, called Bruce, was born at Detroit, Michigan in 1940 and reared in Biloxi where in the mid-1950s, as a teenager founded The Chariots, an automobile club, which specialized in customizing cars, which at the time was a California phenomenon.  Bruce graduated from Biloxi High School in 1957 and matriculated to Mississippi State University were he studied mechanical engineering.

At Mississippi State University, Bruce met Alice Pulliam, a native of Meridian, Mississippi, while she was a student at MSCW, now Mississippi University for Women, at Columbus.  They married in 1963 and as newly weds made their home in the Hellmers’ Cottage at 918 Calhoun Avenue.  Bruce’s engineering career brought him to California, Louisiana, and South Carolina, as well as a twenty-eight year stint locally at Ferson Optical Company and a later 5 year stint at Morton International.  While a resident of Ocean Springs in January 1969, he founded the OSYC along with Bache Whitlock (1915-2002), Dr. Richard T. Furr (1929-2006), A. Russell Moran (1930-1981), William R. Allen (1911-1985), and Janet Ferson Green.  Bruce is remembered as an avidly, competitive and successful Sunfish and Hobie Cat sailor.  Bruce was also a longtime member of the Planning Commission and assisted the Aldermen adopt a comprehensive zoning ordinance for the City of Ocean Springs.(The Ocean Springs Record, July 27, 1972, p. 1)

Alice P. Duckett is the icon of local historic preservation.  She began her crusade to protect our historic homes and buildings in the 1970.  Her work culminated with the September 1989 enactment of the local Historic Preservation Ordinance.  Alice has chaired the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission since 1996.

Bruce and Alice P. Duckett have reared three children: Nancy Alice Baker of Ocean Springs; Merrill Anne Stahura of Hickory, NC; and Albert Bruce Jr. of Biloxi.

Biloxi

While Albert was in the military, Helen U. Duckett brought the children to Biloxi where she had spent many summers.  After his discharge, Albert joined his young family on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in 1946, the Ducketts commenced a business, the Biloxi Pottery-Giftland, on Central Beach Boulevard.  They sold among other ceramics and notions, the fine Shearwater Pottery of the Anderson Brothers of Ocean Springs.  Albert also was an employee of The Daily Herald from 1946-1949 in their advertising department.  He also continued to practice his fine art skills while at Biloxi primarily doing portraits of such notable men as, .Fred B. Ferson (1898-1969), the founder of Ferson Optics Company of Ocean Springs, and Glenn Lyle Swetman (1901-1994), long time president of People’s Bank of Biloxi, as well as his grandchildren and other clan members.  Albert Duckett expired at Biloxi in April 1978.  His corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi City Cemetery.  Helen U. Duckett lived until December 6, 1987.(Albert B. Duckett, April 28, 2007, The Sun Herald,  November 16, 2003, p. I-1, The Daily Herald, April 21, 1978, p. A2 and The Sun Herald, December 8, 1987, p. A4)

Albert Duckett Gallery

When a sponsor for an art gallery in the Mary Cahill O’Keefe Arts and Cultural Center was needed, Bruce and Alice P. Duckett came forward to donate money, time, and intensive labor.  They desired to have Albert Duckett’s syndicated editorial cartoons and personal art work memorialized in a permanent venue.  The Albert Duckett Memorial Art Museum opened on October 24, 2004.  This was the second room in the structure to be completed with some private funding.  Joey Milsted Rice was named gallery curator.(The Ocean Springs Record, October 28, 2004, p. B4 and December 2. 2004, p. B4)

 

REFERENCES: