Ben Cochran Duffie, Sr., one of America's Greatest Generation passed away on Friday January 24, 2014. He was born on June 22, 1920 to Benajah Cooksey Duffie, Jr. and Viola Cochran Duffie. He was a native Houstonian and attended River Oaks Elementary School, Lanier Jr. High and was in the first graduating class at Lamar High School in 1938. He went on to The University of Texas in Austin, becoming a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Later, he transferred to Texas A&M University and left to fight in World War II.
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He was a First Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, flying P39's out of the Solomon Islands including Guadalcanal, Munda and others. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 5 clusters and the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with 2 stars. While stationed on Guadalcanal, his fellow squadron shot down Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Supreme Commander of the Japanese Navy - Architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He flew in 153 Sorties with the 13th Air Force, and then transferred stateside to become a pilot instructor. Ben derived great satisfaction in the service of his country.
Upon conclusion of the war, he returned home and attended some classes at the University of Houston and went on to work for the family business at Ben Duffie Inc. He met and married the love of his life, Maryanne "Jackie" Jackson on September 16, 1950. They were huge fans of the University of Houston and had 50 yard line tickets for many years, where they enjoyed football games. He went into the brokerage business in the mid 1950's, retiring as a stockbroker from Eppler, Guerin & Turner in 1988.
Ben and Jackie then moved to Wimberley, Texas where his family had a summer home and property from the 1950's. They joined the Wimberley United Methodist Church and became very active in the community. He enjoyed golf; was on a bowling team in San Marcos and loved being with his family and going to ballgames with his grandsons.
He is preceded in death by Jackie his beloved wife of 63 years just 8 weeks ago, his Father, Benajah Cooksey Duffie, Jr., his Mother, Viola Cochran Duffie and his Brother, Walker Jerome Duffie. His is survived by his son, John Cochran Duffie and his wife Missy of Houston and his daughter, Andrea Lee Taner and her husband, Jeff also of Houston; his three grandsons, Parker, Connor and wife Kayti and Tyler Duffie and by his great-granddaughter, Callie Fitzgerald Duffie; his sister-in-law, Kathryn Duffie and her daughters, Adele Ownby of Houston and Erin Lattimore of Austin and their families and many other family and close friends.
He was a kind and sweet man and sometimes called Gentle Ben. He was loved unconditionally by his family. He was strong and sometimes stern, but many life lessons and knowledge was learned from him. He will be dearly missed.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the Wimberley United Methodist Church P.O. Box 737, Wimberley, Texas 78676, the Wounded Warrior Project P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, Kansas 66675 or the
Matthew 25:21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
There will be a graveside service on Saturday February 1, 2014 at 10:00AM at the Wimberley Cemetery and a memorial service at the Wimberley United Methodist Church at 11:00AM in Wimberley, Texas. Thomason Funeral Home. (512) 847-2226.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Jan. 30, 2014