Ruth Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Duckett passed away on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, surrounded by her loving family and friends at Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Care Center. Ellie was born in Roanoke, Va., on October 22, 1948.
After graduation from Mars Hill University in 1970, Ellie began her 33-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency as an operations officer. She served in Latin America, Central Europe and Europe, where she was deputy and chief of station in two of her five overseas tours. She also traveled extensively to other regions of the world.
Throughout her career, she was given greater levels of responsibility and promoted into the Senior Intelligence Service. She held leadership positions in the Counterproliferation and the Counterterrorism centers. During her final years in the CIA, she held the position of deputy division chief of Europe Division and retired after serving two years as chief of the National Resources Division.
Throughout her career, she was awarded numerous Exceptional Performance awards. She also received the Distinguished Intelligence Medal in recognition of ‘her exceptional leadership of the National Resources Division and for her mentoring skills.’ The Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal (DCIM) was awarded to Ellie, citing ‘she has proven over and over again that she is an exceptionally intelligent, creative and hard charging officer.’ She was also awarded The Director’s awards by the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency.
After retiring to Wilmington in 2003, she was able to pursue her passion for helping the underprivileged. She was very active in the Outreach Ministry Team at First Christian Church in Wilmington, volunteering with Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network (WIHN). She also was instrumental in bringing many new technologies to her church, where she served as a deacon and an elder.
Ellie fought a fierce 20-year battle with breast cancer, 15 of those years with metastatic disease. She could not have fought this battle without the loving care of her wonderful family and loyal, fun-filled, ribald sisterhood of friends in Wilmington and others throughout her life. Her constant companion, Zoe, her Yorkie rescue, will miss her forever. Zoe found a wonderful, loving home with Ellie.
Ellie was preceded in death by her father, Carl Duckett; brother, Ernie Duckett; and niece, Tami Duckett Estep.
She is survived by her beloved mother, Jane Law Duckett of Wilmington; brother, Art, sister-in-law, Deb, and niece Hilary, of Wilmington; sister-in-law, Margaret Duckett of New Hope, Ala.; niece, Shannon Duckett Jenkins (Todd); grandnieces, Riley and Ansley of Canton, Ga.; nephews, Ernie Duckett of Madison, Ala., Kerby of Florida and Carl Duckett II (Kasi); and grandnieces, Claire Edith and Caeli Eleanor of Owens Cross Roads, Ala. She is also held in loving memory by aunts, Dee Law, Lois Law, Earlene Law, Ruby Edwards and Ruby Duckett.
Her family would like to thank Dr. Kenneth Kotz, with a special thanks to all the infusion nurses for their compassion, and professional care. Thanks also to Dr. Kenneth Meehan at the Lombardi Center in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and Dr. Robert J. Meister of Arlington, Va. Ellie and her family greatly appreciated the loving and compassionate care provided by all the staff at Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Care Center and its physician, Dr. Ted Winneberger, who shared his special gift of understanding.
She was overwhelmed by the special day, her ‘Sentimental Journey’ to Carolina Beach, made possible by Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Care Center, New Hanover Medical Center Patient Care Transport Services, Carolina Beach Life Guards, WECT, Wilmington Star News and Britt’s Donuts. This was not only a gift to Ellie, but also to her family and many loving friends, who shared her joy in the glorious sunny day and surf at Carolina Beach.
Visitation will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 1, at the Sanctuary at First Christian Church, 2035 Oleander Drive, Wilmington. A celebration of Ellie’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 2, at First Christian Church, Wilmington. Inurnment will take place at a later date in Eden.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial gift to one of the following organizations that were very dear to Ellie’s heart: Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network (WIHN) at tmcfunding.com; First Christian Church Outreach Ministry Programs at tmcfunding.com; or Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation at tmcfunding.com.
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