Bartow, Florida


McDuffie, Tony Earl

Last Updated: 2009

My daddy, Tony Earl McDuffie, was born on October 13, 1945, to Clarence Cook McDuffie and Lorene Walden McDuffie. My daddy was the middle child of three children for my grandparents. He had one older brother, who many knew as well, named Roger McDuffie, and then a younger sister named Jane McDuffie. My daddy adored his family and all of the family adored him. They lived and grew up in the Bartow area. My daddy graduated from Summerlin Insitute in 1963. Roger McDuffie, his brother, is also deceased as well as both of his parents, my grandparents.

My daddy's first job was at Winn Dixie. I am not sure how he started there (probably a bagboy) but I do recall many stories from his close friends and my mother that he did work in the produce department at one time. I believe in 1967-1968 he was drafted for Vietnam.In early 1968, he began working at the Department of Transportation. That same year, he married my mother, Linda Meeks, graduate of Summerlin Institute, class of 1966. My daddy was still employed at the D.O.T. at the time of his death in November of 1986.

My daddy loved racing, bowling, softball (playing and coaching), fishing, and his family. He was an important part of our lives, encouraging sports and activities for my brother and I. He coached me in softball, along with many others. The same year that he passed away, our softball team made it to the World Series in Tennessee. He was so tickled over that! To this day, I am so thankful that he lived to see and experience that right along with me. He would go to the bowling alley with my brother and I, who bowled for years, to fuss at us, but to also cheer us on. I am stubborn just like a McDuffie so I can recall many of times that he would have loved to snatch his head full of curly hair out! My brother and I were ironically at the bowling alley, Cypress Lanes, the morning of his death. We had no idea until we arrived home early that afternoon that he had died that morning in a car accident on the Howard Franklin Bridge.

My brother and I are now grown with children of our own and we still live in this area along with the rest of the family, including my mother. He would have seven grandchildren between us, four with my brother, and three with me (3 boys, 4 girls). He loved children and I know that he would have loved to see them, play with them, and know them. They would have been just as lucky to have him as there papa! I often feel that I was cheated, but I do have faith and realize that everything happens for a reason and its not always for us to understand. That doesn't make me miss him any less! I often wonder how life would have turned out for all of us, had he lived..I think and hope that he would have been proud. My brother is a hard- working, good -looking, great husband and father! I remind him often of how daddy would be so proud of him. He reminds me of my daddy alot, loving alot of the same things in life, and seeing him at certain angles looks just like him. We can't help but too often laugh about his temper, and the things that he would say when he was mad. We are left with many many good memories of him!

My brother and I were blessed with two great people who loved us dearly. One of them still here, continuing to support, teach, and bless our lives each day, and the other, who has gone on home to prepare us a place. Tell the people in your life that you love them and how much that you love them each day, as we are never promised a tomorrow!

In memory of Tony Earl McDuffie 1945-1986

His daughter,

Tina McDuffie Ries