FRAMINGHAM – John (Jack) Peter Duffy, 78, died peacefully on June 6, 2021, at Massachusetts General Hospital while being treated for cancer. His beloved wife of 45 years, Carmen Chico, was at his side.
Jack was born in New York City in 1943 to Miriam and M. Peter Duffy. He resided there until he was in late elementary school. It was then his family moved to Wellesley. Jack often spoke of how wonderful his parents were and how theirn passion for learning was formative in his development.
Jack attended the Wellesley Public Schools and graduated from Wellesley High School, where he was nicknamed, “Mr. Republican” by other students. Jack earned a degree in economics from Harvard University where he delved into politics and emerged an active Democrat.
After Harvard, Jack began serving briefly as a teaching assistant before joining Prudential as a programmer and later serving as an
independent consultant in the computer industry. Truly a “Jack-of-all-Trades,” Jack also studied to be a paralegal at Boston University and was a mortgage consultant.
Jack was well-known as someone who would challenge his teachers, always wishing to better understand the lesson or concept. In the same way that he would challenge his teachers, Jack appreciated being challenged to learn and grow himself.
One of his favorite past-times was speaking with young people about the power of education and the abundance of opportunities available to them. While it would be impossible to quantify how many people he inspired over the course of his life, Jack knows of five local youth who he supported on their path to Harvard.
For Carmen and Jack, it was simply love at first sight. They met during Carmen’s trip to Boston to celebrate the bicentennial (1976) and were married ten months later. The couple lived in numerous Massachusetts communities over the next couple decades, notably Boston, Brookline, Brighton, Wellesley, and Framingham. In each community, the couple became actively involved in local politics, activism, and
Jack was deeply committed to voting rights, women’s rights, housing justice and academic opportunities. In Brighton, Jack became friends with young Representative Kevin Honan (now Dean of the Massachusetts House of Representatives) and later served as the chair of the Wellesley Democratic Town Committee.
He volunteered each year to register new voters in public housing developments, advocated for children with special needs, and volunteered at a M.I.T. summer camp for youth interested in computer science. Deeply committed to all of his work, you would see Jack annually marching in parades, advocating at the State House, and serving as a poll worker.
Jack credited his chance meeting with Carmen as changing his life. Because of his love for Carmen, Jack quickly realized he also loved her place of birth, Puerto Rico. In surrounding himself with everything he could gather on the subject, Jack’s passion for Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the experiences of immigrants to our community grew.
Jack invested time furthering the mission of the U.S. Office of Civil Rights before and during the time Carmen served as Chair of the New England Hispanic Advisory Council for the Office of Civil Rights. He also served on the Parents Advisory Committee for Hispanic Parents encouraging educational advancement and often counseling students on college admission, responsibilities of citizenship, and the importance of voting in our democracy. Furthermore, Jack served as a member of the Civil Rights Commission and the Massachusetts Commission for Puerto Rican Statehood, along with a volunteer for the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Boston.
Jack’s diverse passions made him truly a “Renaissance Man.” He loved music, especially Classical and Great American Songbook tunes, and looked forward to hearing the music at church each and every Christmas. When he wasn’t serving his community, Jack enjoyed skiing, cheering on the New England Patriots, and studying European politics and local history.
In addition to his loving wife Carmen, Jack is survived by his sister, Mary Duffy-Guerrero of New York City, cousins Barbara and Christopher Belcore, both of Atlanta, and Daniel Belcore of San Francisco.
A memorial service in celebration of Jack’s life will be held at the Wellesley Village Church (UCC), 2 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02482 on Wednesday, June 30 at 2 p.m.