George Patrick Duffy

Inducted: 2015
Born: 1922 - Died:
Normally sportscasters ” with such notable excep- tions of Chris Schenkel and Chris Clark ” do not gain accep- tance to the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, but if one is a sportscaster for seven decades, the voice of the Rhode Island Reds for a quarter-century, the longtime coach of youth sports in his community, a constant friend and supporter of disadvantaged and challenged children, and a Pawtucket civic leader, that per- son certainly qualifies. That per- son is George Patrick Duffy. George was born in Pa.wtucket in 1922, one of the seven children of Frederick and Emma (Locklin) Duffy. The Duffy family survived the Great Depression during which George went to Pawtucket High School becoming a three-sport star. He served in the Coast Guard during World War II and was lucky to survive that experience. His ship, the U.S.S. Minges was torpedoed on May 3, 1944 by a German submarine killing 31 sailors and wounding 75 more. This brush with death remained a vivid memory for George for the remainder of his long life, but it brought him home to Pawtucket where he married his childhood sweetheart, Helen Richards, late in 1944. In 1945, at wars end, George signed on with the Rhode Island Reds, the states popular professional hockey team, to announce its games. For the next 25 years he performed that task with his Irish wit and “gift of gab” both at home in the Rhode Island Auditorium and away throughout the Northeast. In 2007, these labors of love earned him induction into the Reds Hall of Fame. George, an athlete himself, did much more than describe the exploits of other athletes. For over 70 years he immersed himself in coaching and mentoring the youth of Pawtucket whether at St. Raphaels Academy, the Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club, or in the Little League, where he brought his Darlington neighborhood team to the 1980 World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. But George did more than hone the skills of agile and athletic youngsters. He was named Ryder Transportations “Driver of the Year” for his long-time efforts in driving local handicapped children back and forth to school. Georges daughter Susan Leach observed that “nothing made him feel better than helping those kids.” George died on May 23, 2015, clutching a baseball in one hand, according to an account from his loving family. He is survived by Helen, his wife of 71 years, 5 children, 15 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. He was 94 years old. The City of Pawtucket has properly recognized Georges lifetime contributions to his city by naming the baseball fields at Slater Park the “George Patrick Duffy Athletic Complex,” and the Pawtucket Hall of Fame has inducted him. Can the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame do less?
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