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Donald “Duck” Stevens will be missed by Calhoun County. He and his good friend Jim Bell have completed many hours of work in the community, especially at Heritage Village at Calhoun County Park.


Duck attended Stevens School, now located at the village. His father, Francis Starcher, helped build it, and Duck cleaned the school, oiled the floors and carried coal for the stove.


He walked a mile from his home on Pine Creek, across the river from Cabot Station, carrying a lunch of biscuits with butter and jelly, packed by his mother, Lula Starcher Stevens. He also attended church in the same building.


Francis, who died when his son was about 12 years old, owned two sternwheelers and served as a riverboat pilot. Duck restored one of the wheels and presented it to Calhoun Historical Society in honor of his father.


Bell and Stevens were always scouring the countryside for artifacts to furnish the different structures at the Village. Duck’s wife, Gloria, was usually pressed into service for tasks such as papering the Freed Post Office.


The two men were honored as Calhoun County History Heroes in 2005. Even though they were presented with certificates by the governor, Duck’s greatest delight was that he would have chicken and dumplings for his dinner after a hard day’s work. He did   what needed to be done, without fanfare or praise.

One of my fondest memories took place on a snowy day a few years back. Duck met me at the gate to the park and preceded me on the park road with his truck bed filled with gravel. When he came to a hole, he would get out with his shovel and fill the hole, then proceed to the next one. Later, he was on his hands and knees, smoothing out a concrete pad for the Starcher Blacksmith Shop.


We are fortunate that he was around to push these projects. We will miss him and his kind smile, but we have a feeling that God will have some projects planned for him in Heaven.

*          *          *          *          *

This seems like an ideal time to plead with young adults or recent retirees to file for public office or volunteer for positions of leadership in the community and church. Duck carried on the dream of Lorentz Hamilton’s Heritage Village. Projects like this will go on, but who will step up and keep it going? Filing deadline for the upcoming election is Jan. 30. Volunteer jobs are always available. Calhoun County needs you!


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