Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

Obituary: George Duffy

 

December 30, 2021

George was born June 2, 1941 to Clifford Bradshaw and Edna Galitzek Bradshaw, the fifth of six children. George was adopted at three years of age by George W. Duffy and Ottolena Lauman Duffy and raised on the Duffy dairy farm outside Whitefish, Mont.

On the farm George learned his rich work ethic which followed him throughout his life. While on the farm he learned many talents and skills such as blacksmithing, building, plumbing, electrical and heating. George attended school in Whitefish graduating in 1959. George was active in sports, football, and basketball. In addition, George was an active member of 4-H and competed in Omoksee for several years.

In 1959, George met a young lady while roller skating at Lake Blaine. He had to follow her home in a rainstorm because her windshield wipers were not working, or at least that is the story they told. This young lady was Floris Mae Mullins. They were married July 22, 1960, at Bethel Baptist Church in Kalispell. They began their lives together living in a small house next to George's parents on the Duffy dairy farm, working together there until 1970 when George Sr. sold the dairy and moved to Arizona.

George and Floris bought a backhoe and started Duffy Excavating to augment George's income from the first heating company he purchased in 1963. During winter months George worked at the legendary Big Mountain Ski Resort as a maintenance man, ski lift operator and ski patrol. George worked hard to take care of his family in an area difficult to make a sustainable living in.

George and Floris's blissful union brought three children into the world – Janet, Dean, and Rochelle. The Duffy children were raised in a very devout Christian home. The family attended the Happy Valley Missionary Baptist Church while living in the Flathead Valley.

In 1973 George was recruited to Chester, Montana to supervise a major upgrade of their water and street system. While living in Chester, George also served as a Deputy Sheriff. George thoroughly enjoyed his time as a Deputy and had many colorful stories of his time with the Sheriff's Department. He made lifelong friends too.

In 1977 George and family moved to Vaughn when George accepted a position as a Superintendent for Tri-Hill development building Hilde Construction and Tri State buildings. In 1982 George purchased Choteau Sheetmetal and moved it to Great Falls. George went to work for Farmers Union as the head of the HVAC Department until 1998 when he suffered his first heart attack. George and his son – Dean - also operated a solar installation company until Dean went to college to get his Mechanical Engineering Degree.

George spent many of his nights and weekends as a member of the MOA refereeing Montana high school girls and boys' basketball.

George, Floris and family were active in the Fort Shaw Bible Church. He served as a deacon after Floris's passing. The church family was a vital part of George's life where he forged lifelong friendships.

After recuperating from his heart attack George ventured out on his own to operate Northern Heating and Air Conditioning. His greatest hope was that he could grow his business and hand it over to one of his "son.". George raised many sons along the way, including grandsons Aaron and Landon Duffy. Unfortunately, George's health proved challenging for many years as he struggled along. George's business focused on rural areas where his customers were loyal and continued to support him through his health ups and downs. One of his joys was having his beloved Floris join him in his work once again. They put thousands of miles traveling together on service calls and doing installations throughout North Central Montana.

In 2012, Phil Lane was a Godsend purchasing Northern Heating from George and Floris but keeping George involved in the business and daily operations. Timing was divine as Floris was diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2011 and battled the disease until finally succumbing July 2019. George's focus prior to losing Floris had been on taking care of her. His days revolved around her needs and after her loss, George never quite recovered.

On Wednesday, October 27th George finally got to join his Bride in heaven where they are holding hands looking down on their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren with great pride and much love.

George is survived by children - Janet Duffy (Jeff Ward), Dean Duffy (Shawna), Rochelle Sand (Roger) and adopted Son – Phil Lane (Jeana); Grandchildren Landon Duffy, Justin Duffy, Jessie Duffy, Aaron Duffy, Tyler Duffy, Audrunn Gottfried and Andrea Lane; Great Grandchildren – Tyler Daniel Duffy Jr. (TJ), Charlie Duffy and Mazikeen Love Vanbuskirk.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations or volunteering time at Benefis Peace Hospice. Our family wants to give a very special thank you to the caring staff and volunteers at Benefis Peace Hospice for the comfort they gave George in his final days.

 

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