On June 20, 2014, John Patrick Duffy passed away after a sudden illness. He was 72 years old. John was born on February 26, 1942, in the New York City borough of The Bronx to Michael and Kathleen Duffy. He attended the State University of New York Maritime College, class of '63, earned a BS degree in Nuclear Engineering and spent his summers during college on cruises to Europe with the maritime academy. After graduation, John attended the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology in Tennessee where he received a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering. He later attended graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle where he received another Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering.John was also a California State Board licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer. Following his move to San Francisco in the late 1960s, John worked for the Atomic Energy Commission, Bechtel Corporation, and PG&E pursuing his career in the nuclear energy field. In 1970 John was one of the founders of EDS Nuclear, and as Senior Vice President, helped take the company public. He retired at the young age of 35 and pursued his passion for sailing, but soon missed working on a project. In 1977 John moved to Sonoma County and purchased a 50-acre parcel at the corner of Barnes and River Roads. He farmed the existing prune orchard for a period of time, and then dreamed of developing a hotel and vineyard operation. From this dream, the upscale Vintners Inn was born. A few years later, the John Ash & Co. restaurant moved to the Vintners Inn site, and John and his wife, Cindy, operated the hotel, restaurant, and the surrounding Le Carrefour Vineyards with much acclaim and success. They sold the property in the year 2000 and John took on another project of designing and building their dream home in the hills northeast of Santa Rosa. John, a brilliant and fascinating man, was a big thinker with a logical mind and a curious nature. He was knowledgeable on many topics and his wife, Cindy, said that he was like Google you could ask him anything and he usually knew the answer. He lived life on his own terms, loved spending time in San Francisco, and enjoyed photography, hiking, and working in his shop where he could build or make just about anything. In addition to his wife and best friend, Cindy, John is survived by his adored mother-in-law, May Davis; Cindy's two brothers, Vern (Janet) Young and Vaughn (Angela) Young; and a sister, Pat. Cindy would also like to acknowledge and thank Efrain Villagomez, John's loyal and trusted friend, who worked with him nearly every day for the past 23 years on John's many projects. In addition, special thanks to Cindy's family and friends who cared for and supported her during this difficult time. A private gathering was recently held at John and Cindy's home to honor him and celebrate his extraordinary life. And as John would say, "It's been a great ride."
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Aug. 3 to Aug. 4, 2014