In January, 2020, Paul Duckworth passed away in Kansas City, Missouri, after a brief battle with an untreatable form of lung cancer. He will be remembered for his kind, gentle, and caring nature, which he extended to friends and strangers alike. Paul knew many people through his 32-year career as a librarian with Springfield-Greene County Library and Drury University – in addition to being a selector with Brodart. His love of books and knowledge was a defining characteristic, though gardening and National Parks were also dear to his heart. He was most at home in the great outdoors.
Thank you, Paul. We miss you dearly. Below is the bio he penned for this blog.
Paul likes to walk wherever and whenever possible and this passion has taken him almost to the peak of Mt. Whitney in California, to the high country of Glacier National Park, and to the summit of Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone. His library of pre-1950s books on Glacier and Yellowstone is still growing.
He was a garlic and asparagus farmer for over thirty years. His love of the country, simple living, and the challenge of farming afforded him a fulfilling lifestyle, but also led to many cold nights huddled around the woodstove every winter in a succession of charming but drafty farmhouses. He misses the country life, as these days he has surrendered to the practicality of living in the city.
He has explored most of the secret nooks and crannies of the 1903 Carnegie library where he began his career. It was there, in working as a librarian, that he found expression for his love of books and the Buddhist ideal of a life lived in service to humanity. While he is loath to tell the story for fear that it might inspire thrill seekers, he was privileged to experience the ghost of Henry David Thoreau skating across Walden Pond one cold January afternoon several years ago.
He confesses that he has evolved from one who eschewed all gadgets and luxuries into one whose motto now is “don’t touch my Macbook or my Lexus and no one gets hurt!” He has the largest matchbook collection in town and loves to cook and eat Indian food. His first book, on country life and how it has evolved today, is in preparation and promises to sell at least a few copies when he gets around to self-publishing on Amazon.