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Agnes Duffy

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Agnes “Rose” Duffy Passes at 92
By Mary Lynly

Agnes Duffy, a name synonymous with bowling passed away peacefully on April 8, 2013 in Sonoma, California. Responses to her passing brought numerous comments about all the lessons learned from “Duffy.” Named Agnes Rose, she was born in Watertown, New York and eventually migrated to California where she made her home in Richmond and later in Sonoma. Most of her years in California were spent sharing her home with Dottie Schultz, a friend she met when both of their husbands were in the service.

What defines a person like Agnes Duffy? Among the many responses to her death were: “Great lady, dear friend, mentor” ; “I thought she would live forever,” “Shared knowledge”; ”When Duffy spoke, we listened”; “Fortunate she was in our lives”; “Special Person, great gal”; “You knew where you stood with Agnes”; “God has a very special angel”; “Great leader – full of knowledge and strength”; “No one like her!” “One of our absolute best and most enjoyable colleagues, friends and confidants during the “good bowling days”; “Intimidating, but turned into respect and admiration”; “Intelligent, humorous and caring.”……and Agnes Duffy was all of that.

Memories were revisited about various adventures, among them when Duffy drove. They said sometimes the driving was good and sometimes – well, maybe not so good - usually got lost but all had a ball. She loved driving and we all wondered what her insurance was because of the number of fender benders she had. The CWBA office was one of her favorite places to assault a small metal pole over and over again! She would tackle anything and she fished, bowled and golfed with her long time friend Dolores Ruppel who came from Guaymas, Mexico to surprise Agnes on her 90th birthday.

In Sonoma she was delighted when the mobile home she purchased had 35 rose bushes and she loved tending them and sharing with anyone who visited. One of her greatest disappointments was giving up driving after she suffered a stroke. Being an independent, but logical person – she accepted her fate and sold the car. She was a no-nonsense person and when Duffy spoke – everyone listened. She was never one to hog the conversation in a meeting. She would listen and then, when she did speak it was usually profound. As a leader, she kept her finger on everything going on and said, “I don’t ever want to be embarrassed by my flock being unprepared because that reflects on me.”

She was president of the California WBA served on the WIBC board of directors for 18 years. She is a Member Emerita of the WIBC, Life Member of four associations, a Hall of Fame member of WIBC, California State and the Richmond and Alameda County local associations. Her employment years were spent working in the Import Export field in Europe and the Far East and Mid-East areas.

Agnes rose to the leadership ranks in every bowling association of which she was a part and continued to support any and all bowling endeavors. She began bowling in 1940 and bowled in the CWBA Championship tournament 56 years and the WIBC tournament 53 years - something accomplished by very few. She is also a two time trophy winner in CWBA tournaments.

The California Golden Nugget newsletter was the brainchild of Agnes Duffy in 1950 and she was its first Editor. She originated California WBA sponsored Clinics; Chaired the Membership Promotion movement in California and from that the CWBA sponsored Instructor Course originated. She spearheaded the formation of the California Senior Women's Tournament and the California Princess Tournament and served as the first chairman of both. As chairman of the California BVL Committee she expanded the program to include the men's associations and did the oversight for gift purchases for the VA and Military hospitals.

In the formative years, Agnes was a WIBC State Service Representative for eight years organizing 20 local associations in California and later, National Coordinator of Membership Development and an ARC (Area Recruitment Coordinator.) She was an American Junior Bowling Congress (AJBC) director, National Bowling Council treasurer, National Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum director and president and a Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) director.

She was Editor of the National Women Bowling Writers publication Knows for News and the recipient of two of their special awards: Mary Jannetto Award for Outstanding Bowling Promotion and the AMF Helen Dual Award for Contribution to Youth Promotion and Coaching. She was the first recipient of the WIBC Membership Development Volunteer of the Year - Agnes Duffy Award, named in her honor. She also served as a Director on the BWAA board of Directors and was President of the California Bowling Writers. She found no task impossible.

In her retirement in Sonoma it was no time at all before she was involved in the mobile home park’s home owner’s association. She became president and did all the work on incorporating the group. Everything Agnes Duffy was a part of was a success - a life well lived.

Services will be held in the New York area on June 15, and later on in Sonoma, California. Cards may be sent to her niece Stacey Klimczak, P.O. Box 552, Yorkshire, New York 14173.

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