Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon
Armel Lee Duckett, 104, of Imnaha, died Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1998, at Ochoco Care Center in Prineville. Services were Dec. 12, with burial in Prairie Creek Cemetery at Joseph.
Mr. Duckett was born Sept. 18, 1894, in Cassville, Mo., to Bill and Florence Duckett, the third of 13 children.
Mr. Duckett moved to Oregon when he was 18 and worked as a farm hand and trapper. He was a boiler maker for the O&R Railroad, based out of La Grande. He enlisted in the Army when he was 23 and served in France and Germany during World War I as a cook. He cooked in a rolling kitchen, a wood-fired stove on a wagon, and prepared the food as the Army moved. Family members recalled that the roast meat was excellent because it was self-basted all day, but there was no refrigeration and flies were bad.
Mr. Duckett married Rowena Johnson in January of 1925. She preceded him in death.
After his discharge, he moved to Wallowa County, where he lived for 69 years. He clerked at the Imnaha Store and drove horse-drawn mail and freight line to Enterprise and later drove the first trucks on the route. At Imnaha, he started a blacksmith shop which developed into a hardware store, car repair shop and a barber shop. He built a water wheel to provide electricity for his shop and home, and was known for such inventions as the Duckett sheepherder stove. He also drove a school bus.
He served for years on the election board over 65 years and the Imnaha school board 35 years, helped put in the Imnaha water system and lobbied for the modern Imnaha Highway and for electricity from Idaho Power to the Imnaha River area. He was a state Grange master and member of the Masons and Shrine. He donated land and materials for the Imnaha church. He enjoyed gardening, farming and carpentry.
A.L. Duckett is survived by a son, Jack of Prineville, two sisters, Lena Marshall of La Grande and Lela Luppenacci of Clarkston, Wash.; nine grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Leland, five sisters and five brothers.
Wallowa County Chieftain, Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon