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Robert Duckett

May 26, 2019

Surrounded by loved ones Robert Duckett passed away on May 26, 2019 in his sixty first year. The youngest of six siblings, Bob grew up and remained on his family’s farm in Fleming with a deep connection to the Finger Lakes.

In his early years he helped to maintain the farm while also contributing to the work forces of Singer, McQuay, and Stott & Davis. He spoke of his 6 years at Lago Vista Farms training young race horses as his most enchanting moments because he learned so much about himself and others. He always maintained a steady link to the Living System through farming, hunting, trapping, fishing, camping and hiking. Bob’s legacy was his connection to the Living Systems and his devotion to sharing it with others. 

His long union with his wife Tracy Yardley was remarkable for its beautiful harmony and mutual devotion – a true demonstration of the meaning of marriage. For 26 years Bob and Tracy ran Duckett’s Timber and Tree Care and had a quiet but lasting influence on their clients, helping them appreciate the complex majesty of the forest even as they dealt with their tree service needs.  People were naturally drawn in by Bob’s joyous celebration of the living landscape. Competent and strong, he was also unusually open-hearted and loving in his response to others. 

Having had a prodigious memory for lyrics Bob often expressed his philosophy and yearnings for a better society through songs he composed and played on his guitar. His appreciation and fine eye for natural beauty inspired his photography as well.

After his diagnosis in late 2016, Bob and Tracy devoted themselves even more to a passionate defense of the integrity of our landscapes. Their volunteer work with the New York State Hemlock Initiative based at Cornell has helped immensely with the process of developing biological controls to try and save hemlocks.

In lieu of flowers, Tracy requests that donations be made to either the  NYS Hemlock Initiative (NYSHI) or Sustainable Tompkins.  For the NYSHI please send a check made out to Cornell University addressed to the NYS Hemlock Initiative – Bob Duckett Memorial, Cornell University, 111 Fernow Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853. You can learn more at https://blogs.cornell.edu/nyshemlockinitiative/ where you can also have the pleasure of watching a video of Bob talking about the Living System in a hemlock grove.  For Sustainable Tompkins please make checks payable to Sustainable Tompkins and mail to Sustainable Tompkins, 309 North Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.

Bob is survived by his wife Tracy, his daughter Keri Duckett, and his siblings Nancy (Jim) Corl, Edward (Kathy) Duckett, Shirley (Sam)Vella, Gary (Anita) Duckett, Elaine (Jamie) Moore and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be Friday, June 21, at Brew Funeral Home in Auburn, NY between 4 and 7pm. Graveside services will be Saturday ,June 22 at Fleming Rural Cemetery, Rt 34B, at 10am followed by a Celebration of Life at Bob and Tracy’s home, 2283 Fleming-Scipio Townline Rd, Auburn NY 13201 beginning at 1pm. Bob loved potlucks! Please bring your favorite dish to share. BYOB.

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