Fred Duckwall has been employed at Duckwall Fruit since August of 1971, accumulating a longer work history with one company for more years than some of us have been alive (Almost 50 years!). Impressive to say the least. However, if you ask him, he will tell you every time – it isn’t a job, but a passion, and if you love what you do it simply doesn’t feel like work.
Treating employees right has always been at the forefront of Duckwall’s career goals, and through his tenure he has effectively created a culture where employees come first. “The best part of my job, hands down, is getting acquainted with and knowing the people who work here. There isn’t a better crew in the pear industry and most of the people work honestly, hard and really care about doing a good job.” This is a legacy that will carry on for generations – hopefully forever!
Duckwall has lived in the area most of his life. He grew up in Hood River and attended all the local schools – some of them don’t even exist anymore like the Coe Primary and Park Street schools. He graduated from the old Hood River High School (Blue Dragons) and headed for Oregon State University in Corvallis where he majored in Business Administration and minored in Food Technology. He was in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at Oregon State and then spent two years in the Army, stationed both in Germany and at Fort Lewis in Washington state. After active duty, he finished his obligation with seven years in the National Guard. Duckwall landed a job as Production Superintendent at a company in Corvallis called Foamat Foods, which no longer exists (not his fault!), and eventually came back to Hood River to join the family business – that was in 1971. Filled with institutional knowledge, here he remains as a Duckwall Fruit icon.
Besides work, Duckwall lives for his family. The glint in his eye when talking with or about a grandchild is unrivaled. He is also unmatched while watching sporting events – whether it be volleyball, baseball, softball or football – there is no bigger fan than this grandpa.
Ever humble, Duckwall feels gratitude more than anything else and downplays the momentous impact of his contributions, both at work and with his family. “I am grateful to be here and thankful for the opportunities that I have had.”