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James H. Duff


1925 - 2014 Obituary Condolences Gallery
James H. Duff Obituary
Longtime Arlington resident James Henry Duff passed away on Friday, March 7, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. from complications related to a 22-year battle with prostate cancer. Mr. Duff, or Jim, as he was known to friends and family, managed to survive so long by staying on the cutting edge of treatment, being one of the first patients to try several new therapy regimes. He was 88 years old. Memorial service: 3 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at Moore Funeral Home. Viewing: 2 p.m. Saturday prior to the service. Mr. Duff will be interred at 9:30 a.m. Monday, March 17, with his wife, Blanche, in Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in Dallas, with full military honors. Born in Alvarado on March 24, 1925, Mr. Duff moved to Dallas with his mother, Irene, and his aunt, Celia Griggs, in 1929. He followed his sister, Valerie, and his older brother, David, in attending Woodrow Wilson High School where he lettered in football and served as vice president of his class, graduating in 1944. He immediately enlisted in the Army and, among many other duties, trained rigorously for what was expected to be the final assault on Japan. While stationed in Mississippi, he met his wife, Blanche Ainsworth. They eloped when Mr. Duff was transferred, and began a marriage that lasted 67 years, ending with her death Aug. 12, 2012. After the war, Mr. and Mrs. Duff moved back to Dallas, where he briefly attended college at SMU before dropping out to work at the now defunct department store, Titches, as a salesperson. Unsatisfied with his opportunities for promotion, Mr. Duff left Titches for a job in the toy department at Sears and Roebuck, where his native charm and ability brought him to the attention of executive recruitment officers. After excelling in his management training, Mr. Duff was posted around Texas, moving with his family through a series of promotions to Beaumont, San Angelo and Wichita Falls, returning to Dallas in the late '60s to serve as the executive responsible for what was then called "sales promotions" for all the stores in Texas. Struck by a lung illness in his mid-forties, Mr. Duff accepted an appointment as the operating superintendent of the Sears store in Lubbock, where he worked for 3 1/2 years while the extremely dry climate aided his recovery. After regaining his physical stamina, Mr. Duff turned down a transfer to Chicago (and an opportunity to resume his climb up the Sears corporate ladder), in favor of returning to the Metroplex. Buying a house in the north of Arlington, he proceeded to juggle several different assignments inside the network of local Sears stores, working as an operating superintendent at Seminary South in Fort Worth and Valley View in Dallas, and managing the Webb Chapel outlet by Bachman Lake, before taking early retirement, after 30 years, in 1979. Plans to launch a career as a consultant were interrupted by a series of heart attacks, and Mr. Duff instead devoted the following 33 years of his life administering to a large network of friends and relatives and traveling the United States. He enjoyed attending the opera with his daughter, visiting his son in New York and California, or his in-laws in Mississippi and Tennessee, and playing cards with his wife, who was, despite of being a devout Southern Baptist, an avid fixture in the local bridge community. Survivors: Mr. Duff is survived by his son, James Alan Duff; his son-in-law, Phillip Patrick Keene, of Los Angeles, Calif.; his daughter, Laura Ann Duff and her partner, Merilee Michaud, of Irving; and several nieces and nephews, including Deanna Duff of Dawson, Ga., Andy Barnes of Phoenix, Ariz., David Barnes of Austin and Janice Grissom Wehring of Burton.
Published in Star-Telegram on Mar. 13, 2014
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