Joseph L. Duffy
Joseph L. Duffy
  • July 3, 1922 - December 29, 2016
  • Annapolis, Maryland

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Joseph Leo Duffy, Jr.

July 3, 1922 – December 29, 2016

Joseph Leo Duffy, Jr., 94, of Annapolis, Maryland died peacefully, surrounded by family, in his home on December 29, 2016, while praying the rosary. His Boston-Irish upbringing prompted him to once call the rosary “a woman’s prayer” yet he prayed it every day for the last 30 years of his life.

Mr. Duffy was born in Cambridge and grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston College High School and the College of the Holy Cross, and attended graduate school at Harvard University.

During The Second World War, Mr. Duffy served as an officer on a destroyer in the Navy performing convoy escort work in the Pacific theatre. After his discharge, he accepted a job with the General Electric Company and spent his entire career working in the jet engine business, living and working in many foreign countries, including Germany, Brazil and Iran.

A lifelong sailor, he was taught to sail by his father on the Charles River in Boston in a skiff given to him on his twelfth birthday. He continued to follow his passion for sailing wherever he lived, whether it was bay sailing out of Annapolis when he lived and worked in the Washington DC area, or ocean sailing out of Marblehead when he lived and worked in the Boston area. He sailed on, and navigated many ocean races, including the Marblehead – Halifax, Newport-Bermuda, and the Annapolis–Bermuda ocean sailboat races. He kept his membership in the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead for many years, even when living overseas.

Because of his love of sailing, Mr. Duffy retired to the Annapolis area and, in retirement, ran a successful business as a compass adjuster and marine yacht surveyor. Calling on his Boston College poem recitation days, he could, with little prompting, sing Gilbert and Sullivan and sea chanties like the Sloop John B, as well as more colorful songs such as The Keeper of the Eddystone Light and Abdul Abulbul Amir.

The youngest of three children, Mr. Duffy was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Ann Louise Duffy and his two sisters Martha Furlong and Gertrude Kirby. Mr. Duffy is survived by six of his seven children: Shatzi Duffy of Ottawa, Canada, Kevin, Mara, Seamus and Ryan Duffy of Annapolis, MD, Marc Duffy of Chevy Chase, MD, as well as his sister-in-law, Mary Terese Duffy. He was preceded in death by his son, Michael. He is also survived by three daughter-in-laws, Pam Brewster-Duffy, Sharon Lawson and Suzanne Duffy, and three grandchildren, Kate, Claire and Wyeth.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to Madonna House, 2888 Dafoe Rd., RR2, Combermere, ON, KOJ 1LO Canada.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church 109 Duke of Gloucester St, Annapolis, MD on Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 10:30 AM with the burial to follow thereafter at St. Anne’s Cemetery.