Lawrence (Larry) Jay Duffy was a Renaissance man. He was a gifted person who sought to develop his knowledge and abilities in intellectual, artistic and social aspects. Larry was born on June 14, Flag Day, 1936, in Leavenworth, Washington, to Karl and Carol Kifer Duffy. Larry was raised with his cousin and five siblings, graduating from Winthrop High School in Washington.
Immediately after graduating high school, Larry enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served for five years. He was stationed at Scott AB in St. Claire County, Illinois, and Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He then listed in the U.S. Navy for four years during the Vietnam war. Larry was on board the USS King, where he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal.
Following his military service, Larry aspired to be a minister. He moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, to be near his mother and younger siblings. Family ties kept him in Fairbanks, and it became his home. For 30 years Larry was a warehouse manager for the Bureau of Land Management until he retired in 1994.
Larry Duffy was an intellectual man who had a profound love of nature. He had a kind heart, which created many friendships in the Fairbanks community. Although he kept busy, Larry made time to admire a beautiful sunset or the dancing northern lights when they displayed themselves. He built a humble home outside of town with an open field where the sun would shine warmly. He enjoyed sharing his plants at the Tanana Valley farmers market and sharing stories over coffee at local diners.
A self-taught historian, Larry had a vast knowledge of many subjects, which he would happily share to a listening ear. He enjoyed animals, having Karelian Bear dogs in his younger days and feeding birds that visited his home. Larry was a talented artist who created detailed sketches of scenic view and wildlife. Whenever possible, Larry would visit Mazama, in the Methow Valley where he grew up. He loved visiting his childhood home, where he would take in the scenery and check on his plum trees. During the winter months, Larry enjoyed singing in the UAF Chamber Choir. Inviting his friends to the Christmas and spring concerts filled his heart with pride.
Larry’s favorite flowers were roses. His great passion in life was gardening, which was obvious in the beautiful flowers and trees that he propagated at his home. Larry hiked Chelan County, Okanogan County, the Kenai Peninsula and the interior of Alaska in search of iris patches with different color varieties. Lilac trees and exotic pine trees were also numerous at his home. Larry was a master gardener for many years. He diligently held the title of president of the Tanana Valley Master Gardener Association for several years of his membership. The reputable Jackson & Perkins Co. would send rose varieties to test survivability in colder climates. Many of the plants he propagated were highly desirable, some being sold as far away as Japan.
Larry passed away on Oct. 12, 2017, in his cousin Viv’s home in Wenatchee. Larry is preceded in death by his grandparents Robert Pattison (Bob) and Ruby Lamberton Kifer, his parents Karl and Carol Kifer Duffy, and his siblings Dude (Robert) Betty, Barbara, Donny and Penny (Ellen). He is survived by his cousin Vivienne Johnson, along with many cousins, nieces and nephews. In honor of Larry’s wishes, there will not be a service. He will be laid to rest in Sullivan Cemetery at a later date in Winthrop. Larry’s eye for beauty will continue to be shared as his flowers bloom and trees thrive all over the world.