J Duffy Atkinson
November 29, 1919- March 18, 2018
Jesse Duffy Atkinson passed peacefully from this life, Sunday, March 18, 2018 at Citrus Valley Hospice in West Covina with daughter Valerie Lunt by his side.
Duffy was born November 29, 1919 in Evanston Wyoming, the third of four children born to Ben Jesse and Tiena Brown Atkinson. He grew up in Evanston where he enjoyed skiing, ice skating and riding his horse, Goldie. He had three doting sisters, Dolores, Beth and Jean.
His mother died of a stroke at age 47 leaving 18-year old Duffy emotionally adrift. His father sent him to live with a spinster cousin in Nova Scotia Canada where he helped manage the family farm that was acquired in the mid- 1700's. Unhappy with farming, his cousin encouraged him to pursue an education. He chose civil engineering as he said, "All the equipment I need is a pencil and pad of paper." His cousin was instrumental in getting him accepted to Acadia University in Wolfville Nova Scotia. In addition to his education, he continued to hone his trumpet chops by forming a band, "The Gentlemen of Swing", which toured the outlying provinces.
He then moved to Southern California to finish his senior year at USC. While living in LA, he met Elsie Predovic Larsen on a blind date and they were married three months later. Two children were born to Duffy and Elsie; Brian Duffy and Valerie Jean.
In 1955, Duffy moved his family to Glendora where he became Glendora's first Public works Director and later also had the additional job of City Engineer .He worked for the City of Glendora for ten years before going into private practice. He was an active member of Toastmasters having won numerous awards in public speaking, mostly in the category of "tall tales". He taught hydraulic and water supply classes one night a week at Citrus College. For 56 years he was the founder and director of "The Glentones", a 16-piece Big Band that plays music from the 30's and 40's. He also played trumpet in the band. The band has played for local venues including Eye-Das, Concerts in the Park and the Glendora Holiday Stroll.
He continued to do engineering and consulting jobs well into his 80's. He could be seen on his daily walks to downtown Glendora to visit with the locals or to take in lunch at the Village Vault Restaurant where for years he only ordered, "A half a tuna (sandwich) and a cup of soup!"
His charm, quick wit, ready smile and integrity endeared him to everyone he met.
He is survived by his two children, Brian Duffy Atkinson (Rita), Valerie Jean Lunt(David) and three grandchildren, Brian (Ali), Kevin and Melissa Lunt, several nieces and nephews and a host of devoted and loving caregivers who have provided for him a wonderful quality of life.
He was predeceased by his wife Elsie of 55 years and great-granddaughter, Zelda Elsie Lunt.