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Jerry Ducie

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Jerry Ducie Obituary
Jerry Ducie NiskayunaOn writing this story about Jerry Ducie, I am surrounded by numerous statues and images of clowns. Clowns were his favorite things. Perhaps because this best described Jerry's joie de vivre and was the face he most often presented to the world. Now, a clown is generally defined as a buffoon or jester who entertains by jokes, antics and tricks in a circus, play, or other presentation; one who jokes and plays tricks. But this is not the definition that best describes Jerry Ducie. No, Emmet Kelly said it best when he described his desired role and persona: By laughing at me, the audience really laughs at themselves, and realizing they have done this gives them sort of a spiritual second wind for going back into the battles of life. This describes Jerry to a T. This is the man that would sit for hours while countless nephews and nieces would try to catch that dollar falling from his hands: the Dollar Game! That same dollar has passed from the expectant hands of innumerable little imps with never sated dreams of their anticipated purchase of candy or toys. This is the man who would drive for hours in full clown makeup just to surprise his grandson at Halloween for trick or treat. Can you imagine what people thought at any rest stop visits on the way? This is the man who would always have a witty response and a quick retort; the life of any party and the center of attention for one and all. This is the man who could conceive of such crazy characters and personalities, like Mrs. Ralston, and the man of many hats, and on a moments notice improvise funny routines that would make even Regis Philbin green with envy. This is the man we know. This is the man we celebrate. Yet he was a man with a past that formed and colored the life he shares with the world. Born in Roxbury, MA, Jerry was the son of Catherine and Charles Ducie. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Jerry returned to Boston. In 1957, he graduated from the Leland Powers School of Radio, Theatre and Television, where he discovered his love of broadcasting. After graduating, Jerry was quickly hired by WKBN-TV in Youngstown, OH where he created the character of Stanley, the popular clown and host of a weekly children's television program. At WKBN-TV, Jerry had the chance to work with many famous entertainers, including the Three Stooges. Eager to move back East, Jerry took a position with WGY-AM, in Schenectady, then the largest radio station in the United States. He began as staff announcer in 1964, but was quickly recognized for his sharp wit and talent for tapping into important issues of the day. So, in 1964, Jerry made history at WGY, pioneering the station's first-ever evening radio talk show. As the host of Nightline, Jerry was behind the microphone every night, from 8 p.m. to midnight, tackling controversial topics in the news. Thousands of listeners tuned in to the top-rated program, often calling to weigh in on the heated debate Jerry had spurred that evening. At that time, WGY's signal reached multiple states and Canada. Hundreds of newsmakers and elected officials at both the local and state level were Jerry's guests on the program. Following WGY, Jerry was employed by New York State, first with Narcotics Addictions Control Commission (NACC), then the Department of Corrections, where he served for more than 20 years, retiring in 1990 as director of the statewide volunteer program. It was during this time that Jerry returned to receive a bachelor's degree in creative writing from the College of St. Rose. A born performer, Jerry appeared in several productions with the Schenectady Civic Playhouse, including, A Man for All Seasons, and, No Time for Sergeants. His talents were frequently tapped to emcee events for the Department of Corrections. He was also the go-to guy for writing funny skits and songs performed at dozens of retirement celebrations for employees of both state agencies and St. Clare's Hospital. Jerry was an active volunteer throughout his life. With his wife Pauline, they fostered newborns through Catholic Charities and gave countless hours to St. Helen's School and Parish, the Law, Order and Justice program and C.B.A. Bingo. For many years, Jerry was a lecturer at both St. Helen's and Our Lady of Fatima. Jerry is survived by his devoted wife of 58 years, Pauline Beauchemin Ducie, a retired St. Clare's Hospital nurse. He is also survived by his daughter, Marie Anne (Thomas) Marton, of Rochester; his son, Christopher (Elizabeth) Ducie, of Long Island; grandchildren, James Marton, Michael and Laura Ducie, Jayline Gonzalez; and great-grandchildren, Theresa and Frankie Elizabeth; his brother, Charles (Claire) Ducie of Cape Cod; as well as dozens of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Jerry is predeceased by his young brother, Joseph (at age four) and Edward Ducie. Jerry Ducie, 86, entered into eternal life on March 17, 2014 surrounded by his lovely family at home in Niskayuna, NY. He has found a new stage, and heaven is now gifted with many laughs and acts of hilarity already missed by those who love him here on earth. The wake will be held at Jones Funeral Home, 1503 Union Street, Schenectady, on Friday, March 21, 2014 from 4 to 8 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Kateri Tekakwitha, 2216 Rosa Road, Niskayuna, NY 12309 at 10:30 a.m. Donations in memory of Jerry may be made to St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish or Grand Boulevard Volunteer Fire Company, Niskayuna District 1. To leave a message of condolence for the family please visit: www.jonesfh.net.

Published in The Daily Gazette on Mar. 20, 2014
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