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Clemson alumnus Ed Duckworth passes away at 85

Emily Lady, Contributor

A Clemson men’s tennis player winds up to hit a ball. 

Ed Duckworth, Clemson alumnus and pioneer of the Clemson tennis program, has passed away at the age of 85, Clemson Athletics announced on Monday, Feb. 14. With his efforts to build the Duckworth Family Tennis Facility and his contributions to Clemson University, he leaves behind a hefty legacy. 

Ed and his wife, Jane Duckworth, were both lifelong Clemson tennis fans and helped fund and oversee the construction of the new, state-of-the-art facility. 

Ed Duckworth also served on the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors and Board of Visitors. He was an IPTAY member for more than 50 years and co-chair of the Will to Lead Capital Campaign.  

“Ed was an incredible person as well as an ambassador for Clemson Athletics and the Clemson Tennis programs,” men’s tennis head coach Robbie Weiss said in a press release. “Ed and Jane Duckworth are the pillars and foundation of the tennis programs here at Clemson, and Ed will be greatly missed.”  

Ed Duckworth graduated from Clemson University with a degree in civil engineering in 1961. The Duckworths spent their lives raising three children and supporting Clemson.    

A self-proclaimed “tennis family,” the Duckworth children were ranked as junior tennis players. Ed and Jane Duckworth’s son, Jim, played collegiately at the University of Mississippi.   

“Ed was an amazing person, and we will miss him so much,” women’s tennis head coach Christy Lynch said. “His support of Clemson and Clemson tennis over the years has been extraordinary, and his legacy will live on here forever.” 

Ed Duckworth is survived by his wife, his children Leanne, Jeff and Jim and his seven grandchildren Alex, Aly, Haley, Jake, Kaitlyn, Trace and Mary Elaina.   

According to Robinson Funeral Homes, the Duckworth family is requesting that instead of sending flowers people should donate to the Duckworth Family Tennis Endowment or to First Baptist Church of Clemson. 

A visitation will be held Sunday, Feb. 27 from 2–4 p.m. at First Baptist Clemson, 397 College Avenue, Clemson, South Carolina 29631. 

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