Duckworth dies at 95

Dec 4, 2019 3:00 AM

George Duckworth always called him “Killer” because it sounded more intimidating than Kilroy.

For several memorable years Gene Kilroy worked closely with Duckworth at the Dunes, who he credits with taking him under his wing and teaching him the casino business.

“I learned a lot from George. He was a very caring and kind man,” Kilroy said of his long-time friend who died on November 16 in Las Vegas.

Duckworth was 95. A cause of death was not released.

Duckworth, who was born in St. Louis in 1924, moved to Las Vegas in 1950 before beginning a 38-year career in the gaming business. He started at the Sands, then moved on to the Riviera, before heading to the Dunes in 1960 where he held executive and ownership positions until his retirement in 1990.

Kilroy remembered in the late 1970s at the Dunes walking into Duckworth’s office when while he was talking with one of the casino’s high rollers over what he owed the casino.

“I walked into his office and he said, ‘Hey Killer, what’s up?’ and the customer agreed to pay what he owed,” Kilroy told Gaming Today with a laugh. “I will always remember that.”

Kilroy also said when he first arrived in Las Vegas in 1978 he didn’t really know anyone and has always been grateful that Duckworth invited someone he barely knew to his home for Christmas dinner.

“He loved the casino business,” Kilroy said. “I’m sure that as long as there is a casino in Las Vegas they will always remember George Duckworth.”

A funeral service will be held on Thursday at the Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church. Duckworth is survived by his daughter Tara Duckworth Kassity, her husband Dan Kassity, and grandchildren Lauren and Chase; Kyle Duckworth; and Cary Jay Duckworth, Tiffany Duckworth and grandchildren Ashley and Olivia.

He is also survived by his daughter Diane Varney and her sons Shane Varney and Beau Varney, and his daughter Ryle Hall. Duckworth’s wife, Maureen, died in 2018.

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