Obituary of Gordon Duffy
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Gordon Bernard DuffySeptember 11,1920 ? April 15, 2008 Came to rest peacefully at home on Tuesday, April 15. Having spent the last years of his life challenged by Lewy Body Dementia, he finally came to the end of a very long day. He will be remembered as the gentle man with blue eyes who knew every song by heart and happily shared his gift with everyone who crossed his path. At 87, he continued to entertain at the piano, without sheet music, in any key. And he knew all the words. His drive and spirit kept him going to the very end and he will be greatly missed by all. Gordon was born in So.Portland, Maine and raised in Somerville, Mass. A high school graduate at 16, he was the President of the National Honor Society, leader of the Band and voted 'most handsome' in his class. Born with a natural talent, music was his heart and soul and he played piano professionally at an early age. Attending Bentley School of Business with classes at Harvard and MIT, he served in the Navy during WWII. Moving west, he married, began his family and went back to school for his Degree in Music. Graduating with the Class of '50 from the University of California in Berkeley, he successfully taught his music professors everything he knew. Beginning his professional career at Lockheed in Burbank in 1953, he continued to work in the Space Division in Sunnyvale for more than 35 years. In the evenings he would play piano and compose his tunes. At 39, he took a leave of absence to open "Happy Town" in New York. The show earned a Tony Award in 1959 and he received favorable reviews for his original score. He went on to write other shows, always believing in the value of musical comedy and the legacy of the old standards. Retiring from Lockheed in 1988 gave him the time to pursue his interests - playing piano at weddings and concerts, including Melvyn's in Palm Springs each New Year's Eve ,to tracing the footsteps of his ancestors on his yearly genealogy quests from Maine to Nova Scotia. Gordon would have said his greatest accomplishment was being a father to Tony, Kathy and Nancy and grandfather to Brian. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, who smiled when he saw you, said thank you when you hugged him, and played your favorite song, just for you. Donations may be made in his memory to the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, 400 Hamilton Ave., Suite 340, Palo Alto, Ca. 94301 and to the Lewy Body Foundation at lewybodydementia.org. -Kathleen Duffy (415) 760-0981
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