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Local icon Joe Duck honored at Comer Museum and Arts Center


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – A new attraction is being displayed at the Comer Museum and Arts Center. The display is a tribute to long time Sylacauga business owner Joe Duck. Duck owned J.M. Duck Jeweler in downtown Sylacauga for more than 50 years.

Assistant Director of Comer Museum and Arts Center Linda Pearson said the goal was to recreate the interior of the jewelry store. The project started on Nov. 22 and was completed Nov. 29.  The display features clocks, watches, jewelry, the original storefront sign, photos, and more.

Pearson said she was excited about honoring Duck at the museum because he loved spending time learning about the past.

“He was a historian and one of our members,” said Pearson. “He would always come and talk, and he was just a great person to know.”

In fact, Duck spent one of his final days in Sylacauga at the Comer Museum. Pearson said Duck was there at a reception dancing the day before he passed as a result of a car accident that also claimed the life of his brother.

Duck was more than just a local small business owner. He was a Navy veteran, a member of the American Legion, and a member of the local Kiwanis Club. He was known for his love and passion for the City of Sylacauga and the phrase “Hey, let me tell you about my town.”

During his life, Duck impacted the lives of many people. After his death, the Joe Duck Society was formed in his memory. The society’s goal is to follow in Duck’s footsteps in being great ambassadors and advocates of the town.

One of the lives Duck impacted belongs to chairman of the Joe Duck Society, Jon Hall. Hall told he was looking for a town to move to when he met Duck. He said Duck was sitting on his famous park bench when the two struck up a conversation. He jokingly said he talked to Duck for a brief three hours and at the end of the conversation he knew that Sylacauga was the place for him.

“He was just an amazing man who loved this town,” said Hall. “Sylacauga is a very gentle and loving community and that’s what Joe Duck was all about.”

When describing Duck, Hall used the words ‘icon” and “ambassador,” and phrases like “a gentleman’s gentleman.”

Hall reminisced on Saturday mornings at J.M. Duck Jewelers. He said so many people would be there that you could not even get in the door. He hopes the museum exhibit will bring back memories for all of those who loved Joe Duck.

“It’s unbelievable that they’re honoring him,” claimed Hall. “It’s a small token for a man who gave so much to this city, and it is justly deserved.”

Comer Museum is expecting the display to be very popular. Pearson said once the word gets out and people know it is ready to be seen she is expecting tons of people to come visit, especially those who were born and raised in Sylacauga.

Many of the items on display were donated by Duck’s daughter, Kim Windsor. Comer Museum and Hall are encouraging people to donate any items that would bring more life to the exhibit.

“It would be great for anyone who has items to donate those items if they’d like to,” said Pearson. “Right away people could come in and relive all of their memories.”

If you have any items you would like to donate to the Joe Duck display you can drop them off at the museum, or call Assistant Director Linda Pearson at 256-245-4016, and she will come pick them up and put them on display.

Jeremy Law for | © 2016, City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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