By Carol McIntire
February 18, 2014
The void in Howard Duffy’s life was filled Feb. 11 when he proudly accepted his high school diploma from Carrollton Schools Superintendent Dr. David Quattrochi.
The 73-year-old Minerva resident left high school in 1958, his senior year, to help work on his family’s farm near New Harrisburg.
“My dad was injured in World War II - he was at Pearl Harbor but didn’t talk about it much – and I was needed to work on the farm,” he said.
In 1963 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was trained as a field communications specialist (radio teletype operator) and spent 18 months stationed at a small town near Frankfort, Germany. When he was discharged in 1965 he held the rank of Specialist E4.
While in the army, Duffy received his military General Equivalency Diploma (GED), which was note on his discharge papers.
“I got a 4.0 on the test,” he proudly states. “I took the test for officer candidate school and scored high enough to qualify, but I couldn’t go because I didn’t have a high school diploma.”
After his discharge, Duffy worked at Republic Steel of Canton as an electric overhead crane operator, retiring in 2001.
Retirement didn’t last long: about three months.
“I’m not one to sit at home,” he said. “I went out and got another job.”
He drove bus as a substitute driver for Carrollton, Malvern and Minerva school districts and most recently worked at the former Harry London Chocolates at North Canton.
“I’ve had a lot of jobs but it always bothered me that I didn’t have a high school diploma,” he said.
Recently he visited the Stark County Veterans Service Office to obtain his veterans card.
“I asked the man how I could get a copy of my military GED,” he said. “They wrote a letter to the school (Carrollton) and the next thing I know, I get a call from the superintendent saying they are going to give me a diploma.”
Superintendent Quattrochi dedicated his “superintendent’s comments” at the February meeting to the diploma presentation.
“Mr. Duffy, I want to thank you for your service to our country and am more than proud to present you this diploma,” Quattrochi stated as he presented the diploma and shook the veteran’s hand.
“It made me very proud,” Duffy later said.
Duffy said at age 73 most people would be happy to retire and enjoy the rest of their lives, but not him.
“I’m enrolling in Stark State College and want to pursue a degree in computers,” he said. “I have the date set to do admissions testing. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m ready for it.”
He is equally proud of his daughter, who is also enrolled in Stark State. “She’s 42 and pursuing a career as an alcohol and drug rehab counselor,” he noted.
Duffy and his wife of 45 years, Cora, had two children, including a son who is deceased. Cora is retired from Central Core of Pekin.