A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery. James Joyce
  • 82 years old
  • Born on July 1, 1931 in South Orange, New Jersey, United States.
  • Passed away on October 1, 2013 in Palm Desert, California, United States.

This memorial is a tribute to our father, John B. Duff, 82, who was born on July 1, 1931 and passed away on October 1, 2013. We will remember him fondly as the great JBD, a large-hearted man of letters, who touched so many lives with his formidable mind and generous spirit.

Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st October 2018
Casey at the Bat BY ERNEST LAWRENCE THAYER A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888 The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day; The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play. And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same, A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game. A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast; They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that— We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat. But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake, And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake; So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat, For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat. But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all, And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball; And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred, There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third. Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell; It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell; It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat, For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat. There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place; There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face. And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat, No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat. Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt; Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt. Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip. And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air, And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there. Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped— “That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said. From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar, Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore. “Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted some one on the stand; And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand. With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone; He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on; He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew; But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.” “Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud; But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed. They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain, And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again. The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clinched in hate; He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate. And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow. Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out. No joy in Mudville, Dad. Still miss you every day. xxoopatty
Posted by Patricia Duff on 2nd July 2018
Happy Birthday, the day after, Daddy. I was flying all day yesterday on your birthday, thinking of you after a great Dufforama in Hawaii. We all think of you often, it's clear. You are still present, Dad, with us forever. Love, Patre.
Posted by E Duff on 1st July 2018
Happy Birthday Dad, we miss you. We all just returned from a great family trip to Hawaii which you would have loved. Thinking of you all the time.
Posted by Patricia Duff on 2nd October 2017
There's no joy in Mudville without you, Dad. Miss you. xxoopjemd
Posted by E Duff on 1st October 2017
It has been 4 years since you left. I believe if you were still here this country would be in better condition. I miss your intelligence and your laughter. Love you Dad.
Posted by Reenie Duff on 1st October 2017
Thinking of you today Dad. Hard to believe it's 4 years since you passed. You would be very proud of the fact that 4 of your grandchildren are in school at Columbia College Chicago. Thank you for that prescient gift Dad. it is the gift that keeps on giving. Always with love....reen
Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st July 2017
Happy Birthday, Dad. We all miss you very much. Hope the reading is going well and that you are enjoying plenty of cream soda and banana, rocky road, pistachio ice cream! Love you, Patty.
Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st October 2016
Emily's right, Dad. You wouldn't believe this election. I think of you so often Dad and miss you every day. You would be so thrilled to see three of your grandchildren soaking up your legacy at Columbia College Chicago. I know that you are watching over them. They feel you and love you for what you have given them. Keep them safe, Dad. I know you will. Enjoy that book. Love you, Patty.
Posted by E Duff on 1st October 2016
It has been three years since we lost you. More if you count the years that Alzheimer's slowly took you away from reality. I wish I could tell you about my life. You would be happy about my travels. I think of you whenever I visit a new place. Three of your grandchildren are at Columbia College thanks to you. They are doing well and enjoying Chicago. I miss you. Love, Emily Anne PS You wouldn't believe this Presidential election...
Posted by Reenie Duff on 1st July 2016
Thinking of you Dad on what would have been your 85th birthday. We all miss you and talk about you often....citing your larger-than-life personality and your penchant for flashy duds. I am grateful for the opportunity you have given to your grandkids to attend Columbia College in Chicago. You would be proud to know that Madelaine and Henry will join Claudia there in a few months. Madelaine is very excited and appreciative as well. You are/were the ultimate negotiator, Dad. With love....Reen.
Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st July 2016
Happy Birthday, Dad. Thinking of you, as always. We miss you. xx pjd Remember Remember the sky that you were born under, know each of the star’s stories. Remember the moon, know who she is. Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the strongest point of time. Remember sundown and the giving away to night. Remember your birth, how your mother struggled to give you form and breath. You are evidence of her life, and her mother’s, and hers. Remember your father. He is your life, also. Remember the earth whose skin you are: red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth brown earth, we are earth. Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them, listen to them. They are alive poems. Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the origin of this universe. Remember you are all people and all people are you. Remember you are this universe and this universe is you. Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you. Remember language comes from this. Remember the dance language is, that life is. Remember. Joy Harjo, 1951
Posted by Reenie Duff on 1st October 2015
Dad....i have been thinking about you alot of late...in anticipation of this 2 year anniversary of your passing. i am still sad that i didn't get to say goodbye. you were a warm and bright light in my life...throughout my life....i don't know that you ever really understood how much i loved you. i remember that day when i was visiting you and i had to say goodbye to you in the middle of the art institute of chicago....when you took me to the magritte exhibit and there were hundreds of people trying to see the art....and i was standing in the middle of all that chaos and you had to leave and i was just standing there crying because i missed you and didn't want you to leave. there were so many instances in my life when i was moved to tears in connection to something regarding you. i didn't want to disappoint you and i always wanted to spend more time with you. thank you for all that you did to make a great life for me and our family.....your gifts keep on giving. love reen
Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st October 2015
Dear Dad, It's been two years and I still miss you like it was yesterday. We all love you, Dad, and keep you with us when we're together. xxoop “Time drops in decay Like a candle burnt out. And the mountains and woods Have their day, have their day; But, kindly old rout Of the fire-born moods, You pass not away.” ― W.B. Yeats, The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore
Posted by John Duff on 1st October 2015
We all miss and think about you often Dad. I especially miss being able to ask you a question about anything and you would invariably have an answer. If not you might say, "the next he tells you that - you tell em". I love and miss you Dad. John
Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st July 2015
His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling. A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead. James Joyce, "The Dead" Missing you so much, Dad. Happy Birthday. Love, PJD
Posted by Reenie Duff on 1st July 2015
Thinking of you today Dad as it would have been your 84 Birthday. You were taken from us too early and I wish you were still here with your facilities intact so that you could enjoy the family that you helped to create. We all think of you fondly and miss what you brought to the party. Loving you always and thinking of you more than you know. x reen
Posted by E Duff on 1st October 2014
Dear Dad, A year has gone by since you left this world but I feel your presence every day. I am constantly reminded of all the progress you made throughout your career. You had a positive effect on so many lives and that keeps you present on this earth. I miss you, Dad. We all do. Love, Emily
Posted by Reenie Duff on 1st October 2014
Thinking of you Dad. I find I talk to you out loud a lot…hoping that you will help me figure things out. I wish you were still here with us. I love you Big Guy…..you showed me the way. x reen
Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st October 2014
Still thinking of you, Dad, wherever you are. This is the first anniversary of your death, but even after a year I still feel your absence from the world like a fresh wound. Thinking of you. Love you, Dad.
Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st July 2014
Happy Birthday, Dad. We miss you. Love from all of us.
Posted by Patricia Duff on 1st July 2014
Full of Life Now Full of life, now, compact, visible, I, forty years old the Eighty-third Year of The States, To one a century hence, or any number of centuries hence, To you, yet unborn, these, seeking you. When you read these, I, that was visible, am become invisible; Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me; Fancying how happy you were, if I could be with you, and become your comrade; Be it as if I were with you. (Be not too certain but I am now with you.) Walt Whitman
Posted by Patricia Duff on 25th October 2013
This Tribute to Our Father, John B. Duff follows more than my 50 years of being the recipient of a kind, generous, funny and brilliant father. We all loved him enormously and what he leaves behind is his legacy of great accomplishment in the field of higher education, the Harold Washington Library in Chicago and a slew of people who admired his generous spirit. Rest in Peace, JBD.

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