Memorial For Jack Duffy

Services Were Held In Wellesley

FDC member John “Jack” Duffy passed away on June 6, 2021 after a struggle with cancer.  A memorial service was held on June 30, 2021 at the Wellesley Village Church.  (Jack and his wife Carmen moved to Framingham from Wellesley during the mid-2000s.)

Many of the FDC membership attended the service.  FDC Chair Mike Hugo was asked to be one of the presenters sharing thoughts about Jack.  His comments are published here.

Remarks about Jack Duffy
Michael Hugo
June 30, 2021

When I look back at my 15-year friendship with Jack Duffy, I think about what was important to him and what he loved the most.

For Jack, the list of what was important and the list of what he loved is identical. There were three things that I saw that he had an undying love for.

 First, Jack had a curious fascination with economics, in particular Keynesian economics. Close to that was his deep philosophical love for democracy, and the Democratic Party in which he found good and deep meaning almost at a religious level.

 But most of all and most important to Jack was his incredibly constant, and always evident love and adoration for his Carmen. Jack would have a certain tone in his voice when he discussed Carmen, her past, her intellectual acuity, and all that she has offered over the years to the civil rights movement. Nobody could ever doubt his love and desire to serve and please Carmen.

 As I was preparing my comments for today, I went looking through some quotes by Jack’s biggest intellectual inspiration, John Maynard Keynes. We all have marveled at how adept Jack was at incorporating a thought-provoking Keynesian quote into every conversation. I once joked with him that if he ordered a burger at McDonald’s he really didn’t need to approach the cashier and quote Keynes as part of the order. I joked that I envisioned him ordering by saying “Most men love money and security more, and creation and construction less, as they get older, now may I have a burger from the dollar menu?”

 Of course, I knew Jack through our work on the Framingham democratic town committee. Jack was tireless and I watched how Jack was literally incapable of ever uttering the word “no” when he was asked to jump in and help us with a particular issue. Not only was he a key member of the bylaw subcommittee, a perennial member of the nominating committee, but he was among the first to arrive and definitely the last to leave a meeting as he came early to help set up and stayed till the very end to help clean up and of course discuss a couple of items of Keynesian economics. I never really knew what Jack’s religion was, or whether he even had any religion, but what I did know is that he was an incredibly decent man who subscribed to the tenets of the Democratic Party as strongly as most people honor their religion.

 As with the rest of us, the Trump years we’re particularly difficult for Jack because he had a deep fear of the erosion of democratic values and process. He was a champion of social justice and was guided by the Keynesian quote: “The political problem of mankind is to combine three things: economic efficiency, social justice and individual liberty.”

 I never saw Jack without seeing Carmen at his side. They were inseparable and were what we love to call “love birds.” When Carmen would begin to speak Jack would immediately stop talking. There was a look on Jack’s face when Carmen spoke. There was a look on Jack’s face when Carmen was by his side as his companion. I can tell you and equivocally that Carmen was Jack’s innermost soul, his compass and his guiding light.

 Carmen, as you sit here today you need to know the amazement and fulfillment that you gave to Jack, and you need to know that Jack was never shy with his friends about what you meant to him. The two of you as a dynamic couple captured all our hearts, provoked our minds, and touched each and every one of us in a compassionate, loving, just, and even keeled way. When you leave Massachusetts you need to know that you will never leave our hearts, and a little piece of each of us has been made that much more special by the privilege of knowing Jack & Carmen, the Duffys.