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Joan Duffy, longtime English teacher, dies

Joan Marie Duffy had a deep love for the English language and literature -- so much so that she earned two college degrees in English and then spent a quarter-century teaching it at New York City and Long Island schools and St. John's University.

Duffy, 82, of South Setauket, died at home Thursday.

She had been a dean or teacher at the Wayside Home for Girls, the Elmhurst Hospital Center, Far Rockaway High School, Abraham Lincoln High School and Francis Lewis High School. She was also an adjunct professor of English at St. John's University.

Joan Marie Scully was born in Astoria, Queens, the only child of William and Julia Scully. She attended William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, where she met her future husband of 60 years, Francis, who would become a professional maritime photographer and writer specializing in cruise ships.

After earning an English degree from the College of New Rochelle, she received a master's degree in English from Fordham University.

"She loved languages," her husband said. "She studied Latin in college and that got her hooked on languages. She liked to teach and to read and to write. She wrote about her experiences in the Adirondacks," which became a passion after visiting the home of her college roommate in Keene Valley.

Joan Duffy also loved travel, art, opera and the company of her family.

"She would fly with me when I was taking pictures" of passenger liners, her husband said, and as a result often got to travel on them to Alaska, Turkey and other destinations.

"She was very outgoing," Francis Duffy said. He said she would have no problem talking to hundreds of children in school programs.

Before she and Francis moved to the Jefferson's Ferry retirement community in 2001, they were 46-year residents of Valley Stream. She was the newsletter editor for the Valley Stream Historical Society.

Besides her husband, she is survived by daughters Mary Frances Duffy of Manhattan and Eileen Traslavina of Lynbrook; sons Michael of Sandy Hook, Conn., Thomas of Brooklyn and John of Valley Stream; and eight grandchildren.

Visiting hours at Bryant Funeral Home in East Setauket are Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will take place Monday at the Church of St. Gerard Majella in Port Jefferson, followed by burial at St. John Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.

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