George Duff passed away peacefully in his favorite chair on Jan. 1, 2023.
Born and raised in Detroit, George was the younger son of Scottish immigrants Robert and Marion Duff. Devoted to his Christian faith, he was a youth leader at Highland Park Baptist church. There, he met the vivacious Marilyn Duff, nee Stostad, whom he married in 1954. A Korean war veteran, George served two years in the army and was deployed to Korea managing “engineering storage and supply” – logistics of the army’s supply chain. He later graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in business administration in 1956.
As a young man, George earned a position on the Detroit Chamber of Commerce. The chamber President was sufficiently impressed by George to decide to hire him on the spot, dismissing four other candidates he had yet to interview. George’s adroit leadership propelled him through the professional ranks to become the chamber’s Executive Vice President in just under ten years. In this capacity, George coordinated CEOs and leadings citizens in efforts to better the local community, including developing a municipal response to foster shared economic prosperity in the wake of the infamous 1967 Detroit riots.
The following year, George was recruited to be the President of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, where his quietly influential leadership and integrity of character played a vital role in shaping the Seattle business community. He became known as a humble and efficacious leader, one who always prioritized the people he served over a personal spotlight. His knack for fostering reconciliation, compromise, and progress left his fingerprints on numerous city projects, such as completing I-90, creating the Seattle Convention Center, and retaining the beloved Seattle Mariners as the city’s baseball team. In retirement, George, alongside Marilyn, gave generously of both his time and finances towards various charitable endeavors, including the nonprofit Christian organization Joint Heirs Ministry.
George’s professional brilliance paralleled the care with which he invested in his friends, family, and aith. His steadfast composure, unwavering respect for others, gentle wit, and keen wisdom were admired by colleagues and family members alike. He was cherished as a community member, family patriarch, and friend to many. He will be dearly missed.
George is preceded in death by his parents, his older brother Neil Duff, and his son Brian Duff. He is survived by his wife Marilyn; his children Doreen Duff-Dings (Kenny), Bruce Duff (Robbi), and Laura Jones (Scott); nine grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; three nieces; and many extended family members.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 14th, at Evergreen Covenant Church on Mercer Island. In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation to The Free Wheelchair Mission.