Chase Duffy, who lived in Groton for almost five decades and served the community in multiple capacities, died May 16, 2011, at home on the same Indian Hill Road property she purchased in 1966. She was 87 and died of heart failure.
Mrs. Duffy was a 30-year member of the Groton Zoning Board of Appeals. She served for seven years on the Groton-Dunstable School Committee. She was president of the Friends of Groton Elders, a founder of the Groton Film Society, and a longtime member of the League of Women Voters and Groton Democratic Committee. She was a delegate to the State Democratic Convention in 2008 and served two terms on the Council on Aging. She was one of a group of local citizens who compiled and published a history of the town to commemorate its 350th anniversary in 2005.
To mark her 80th birthday in 2003, the town proclaimed Aug. 25 “Chase Duffy Day.” The 2011 Town Meeting was named in her honor.
Born Lillian Chase Johnson in Goldsboro, N.C., in 1923, she graduated from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and spent several years traveling and living in Latin America and Africa with her then husband James Duffy. She worked for a number of years as a manuscript editor at the University of North Carolina Press, Harvard University Press, Philips Academy’s Peabody Museum in Andover and Digital Press, the publishing arm of Digital Equipment Corporation.
Mrs. Duffy survived falling under a commuter train in Concord in the winter of 1978 by remembering a story her grandfather, a railroad conductor, had told of a fallen passenger he had witnessed cheat death by rolling to the deepest part of the rail bed as the train passed above.
Since retiring from Digital, she devoted her time to town affairs and local Democratic Party politics — when she was not enjoying the myriad visiting birds at her feeders, tending her garden, or following the fortunes of the Boston Celtics.
Mrs. Duffy is survived by her daughters, Amanda and Priscilla of Arlington; her son, David, of Cold Spring, N.Y.; and her grandchildren, Jackson and Samantha, also of Arlington.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 25, at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Groton.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to The Groton Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 395, Groton, MA 01450, or Friends of the Groton Elders, c/o Jean Temple, 130 Skyfields Drive, Groton, MA 01450.