In loving memory of

Jack E. Duffy
May 1, 1999 - May 9, 2019

Jack Edward Duffy, 20, of Horsham, died Thursday, May 9, 2019 at his home. He was dearly loved by his parents, William and Colleen Duffy, and his brother, Ryan Duffy, also of Horsham.

A 2017 graduate of Hatboro-Horsham High School, Jack was president of the National Honor Society and an accomplished runner on the Cross Country and Track teams. He earned a National Merit Letter of Commendation and was an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction. After High School, Jack developed and founded three businesses with the goal of helping others. He studied at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire before taking time off to travel. Jack played chess from a young age and would take on any challengers. He also had a great love of the outdoors and wildlife and enjoyed hiking with family and friends. On his website, Jack stated that his purpose was to "serve, help, and empower others." He will be immensely missed by his family and friends, whom he helped greatly with his sharp intellect, kindness, and unique insight.

In addition to his parents and brother, he is survived by his maternal grandparents, Raymond and Virginia Fitzgerald of Oak Creek, WI; paternal grandmother, Belva Duffy of Sycamore, IL; his aunts and uncles: Tim Fitzgerald and Joan Vercillo of Itasca, IL, Kevin and Jill Fitzgerald of Pewaukee, WI, Pam Duffy and Belva Ozehowski of Sycamore, IL; and several cousins. He is preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, John Duffy; and his aunt, Kathy Fitzgerald.

Relatives and friends are invited to call on Thursday May 30 at 10:00 AM followed by a Memorial Service in honor of Jack's life at 11:00 AM at the Anton B. Urban Funeral Home, 1111 South Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA 19002.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to one of these charitable organizations: Brain and Behavior Research Foundation at or Panthera at

Tributes and photos may be shared at


Cynthia Oliva wrote on May 31, 2019:

"My deepest condolences and sympathies for you and your family. No words can convey the depth of sorrow you must all be feeling. You are all in my thoughts and prayers today and every day. Blessings."

Mathew Varughese wrote on May 30, 2019:

"Jack was the best writer I have ever met. If there is anyone that can put into words how we all feel, it would be him. It was not just writing that he was good at. Ever since I met him in first grade, he strived to be excellent at everything that he did. Track, basketball, taking care of his cats, chess, soccer, debating about nonsense, persuading, listening, teaching, and so on. Whenever he decided to do something, he did not just do it, he did it as great as he possibly could. Especially when it came to being a friend. About a year ago I was going through a tough time and naturally jack was someone who I talked to a lot about it. No one was able to make me feel better like he was. One piece of advice he repeatedly told me was to practice gratitude and to love yourself. Gratitude is so important, he would say. Be grateful for what you have and don't dwell on your pain. We don't choose a lot of things that happen to us but we do get to choose whether or not we are grateful. It's tough to choose to be grateful, but Jack's advice was to choose it. And I am trying to listen to his advice right now. So thank you Jack. I'm very grateful for you and all of the memories we've shared together. You were an excellent person and an even better friend."

Valerie Willison wrote on May 30, 2019:

"I became friends with the Duffy family, while my son Cameron and Jack were playing on the same HHoops basketball team. Jack and Cam were both tall and blonde, with similar personalities, and it was a pleasure to watch their friendship develop over the years. As a mother myself, I believe it has to be every loving parent?s worst nightmare to lose a child. I can?t even begin to imagine the gamut of emotions that the Duffy?s must be feeling. It is times like these, that words of comfort seem insufficient, but a hug speaks volumes. I would like to share a hug with you today, from a book of daily inspirations, by the same name: Never Alone In all things approving ourselves the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses. 2 Corinthians 6:4 People of every generation have experienced adversity, and this generation is no different. But today?s people face challenges that previous generations scarcely could have imagined. Thankfully, although the world continues to change, God?s love remains constant. He remains ready to comfort us and strengthen us whenever we turn to Him. Counselor and author Paula Rinehart advised, ?If you want to know real joy in life, then be willing to let pain tutor your soul.? When we face up to the suffering, we grow spiritually and emotionally. When we encounter troubles, of whatever kind, if we call upon God, in time He will heal us. And until He does, we can be comforted in the knowledge that we are never alone. The love of God exists in its strongest and purest form in the very midst of suffering and tragedy. Suzanne Dale Ezell "

Cameron Willison wrote on May 30, 2019:

"My Friend, My Brother, Jack Ever since getting elbowed in the face by Jack during our HHOOPS intramural basketball games, I always knew that he was an intense guy. Both of us were like that, though. I think we each had our personal battles to fight through, especially when we were younger, and it was because of this that we would become the best of friends. We both liked to clown and joke around, but there was never anyone better that I could have a real, honest conversation with- even if it was over a game of Mario, some grass-fed whole milk and a copious amount of Mr. Duffy?s banana muffins before another game of comically competitive pool. It was no secret that we both liked to fool around, even if it was really only a distraction from some of life?s complexities. Not only this, but as two fairly successful young men, there were certainly times when we felt like we deserved a break. From being Vice-President of his class for the first two years of high school, to getting into his dream school, Dartmouth, we both had fair amount of what could conventionally be called success. As his closest friend, though, knew on a deep level his unfortunate dissatisfaction with life: that which we call depression. That, I think, is one sad truth about life- even the rugged beauty of our Colorado ?promised land? and the warm, chocolatey notes of freshly roasted coffee at CAFE LEO in a small town outside of Colorado Springs couldn?t cure that inner dissatisfaction that plagues even the best of us- that disease, which is a bleak, abysmal cliff that many of us struggle with in the shadows. He was always the ?idea man,? the one with the insight, while I was the ?do-er.? He was so good at thinking, a tendency that I think sometimes caused him to get in his own way. I firmly believe that, if he had only been able to fight on a bit longer, then he would?ve been wildly successful. But, however, this is not to say that Jack didn?t have an immensely powerful impact on those around him while he was here. There hasn?t been a day since he passed that I haven?t thought about him and the amazing impact that he had on me even in his all-too-short time here with us. Without Jack, I probably would?ve kept on slaving away at unfulfilling, ?deadening? work, as he called it, swept onto the conventional lifetrack by the modern, irrational contempt for so-called ?blue collar? work. I would?ve simply coasted through university, maybe even gotten a Master?s degree, and wound up in some six-figure consulting job without ever really enjoying any of it. I never thought about any of this; Jack was always the one with the foresight to see where things were going. Because of him, I have decided to drop out from university to pursue my dream of learning carpentry and plan to pursue several ventures that were a brainchild of the two of us, one specifically mentioned at the end of this Eulogy. Although I?m sure this will not be without (sometimes immense) difficulty, it was Jack who enlightened me to the idea that it is better to try and fail at your dreams than to never try at all. Although this funeral, as well as our thoughts in the future about Jack, should focus on the positive memories we had with him, it is important to address that his untimely death is part of a much larger problem with my generation: our Crisis of Purpose. In the past, it took almost the entirety of someone?s efforts to maintain a comfortable life. Now, with modern technology and an ever-cushier standard of living, our generation is discovering that they are more and more dissatisfied with what previous generations had defined as success. Before, a cushy office job with a six-figure salary and a nice benefit package had been the hopes and dreams of a belabored workforce. A McMansion and fancy new car are the pinnacle of happiness in the now outdated mindset, because profit and material personal gain are society?s biggest driving force. Nevermind, of course, that most of life?s waking moments are spent enthralled in pointless meetings, Excel spreadsheets and an gray cubicle existence, somehow mislabeled as a life-sustaining ritual. Given that this is the reality into which my generation was born, it is no surprise that rates of mental health problems, drug addiction, and even suicide are at an all-time high. It is because of this that we need to be more aware than ever concerning the mental health of those around us. *We need to cast away the stigma around seeking help; to seek therapy does NOT mean that you are crazy!* Most importantly, we have to try to enact change on the world wherever we see possible. It with the project that I mentioned earlier that the two of us hoped to do this. For some months now, I have been writing a short book in collaboration with Jack. Although the words are mostly mine, I like to think that it was his thoughts and ideas, as well as his frequent help with editing, that gave birth to our story called In Pursuit of Utopia: AN HONEST PLEA. I?m proud to say that I?ve been fortunate enough, with the advent of eBooks, to publish the work and look forward to spreading our ideas through its distribution. We are blessed with, yet have been given only, one life. Let us do with it what we can!"

Valerie Willison wrote on May 30, 2019:


Fifi wrote on May 23, 2019:

"Colleen, my deepest sympathies to you and your family on the loss of your son. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and I pray warm and happy memories of Jack help carry you thru your grief."

Maggie wrote on May 21, 2019:

"Words cannot heal this tragic loss but I wanted to say that all the wonderful attributes that everyone saw in Jack, had their roots in his kind, caring and loving parents. May you find some comfort in the love of your families and friends around you."

Dan M. wrote on May 19, 2019:

"What heartbreaking news. I did Jack's alumni interview for Dartmouth and while I didn't know him well, I learned enough over the course of that hour we had together to realize that he really was a remarkable young man--exceptionally personable and bright. Tolerant, honest, mature--all words I used to describe him. And a natural leader, of the best, consensus-building sort. I was so pleased when he got into Dartmouth--for him, and for Dartmouth. I interview many prospective applicants, but he really stood out--because he was whip-smart, yes, but also because he radiated decency. My heart goes out to you. "

Suzanne wrote on May 17, 2019:

"Dearest Colleen, William and Ryan. I do not know you nor did I know your beloved Jack until now. I have met a beautiful soul and beyond this words do not exist. I hold you all in a place within my heart where the deepest feelings of human love and compassion will live forever. Bless you dear ones. "

Candiss wrote on May 16, 2019:

"My condolences to the family. Please remember the good times spent and hapoy memories- those are God?s gift to us in these hard times. "

Sophia wrote on May 16, 2019:

"I met Jack in a freshman year Spanish class. We both always got to class early and we had sat down next to each other on the first day and since those seats never seem to change, we got to know each other. I remember struggling through Spanish and being so envious of how he seemed to breeze through the class. We struck up a friendship and had met up in one wheelock a couple times to talk and do spanish. He showed me everything that he was working on- how he had mastered Bootstrap, the coding platform and was building a bunch of websites. He was interested in creating two types in particular- people's resume pages and company pages. He'd targeted resume pages as the next iteration of the boring Dartmouth resume that we hand to all our employers. He understood the human element of pictures and good design in making an effect on people. He wanted to help people stick out and knew that he'd be able to make something that would help his customers be more polished and stand out from the crowd. He was also building sites for local businesses both in his hometown with some friends and also in Hanover, I think with some Dartmouth students but I'm not sure. He said he was starting to turn a profit and told me about how he'd be charging a flat fee and then a maintenance fee for updates for the websites. He'd said that I was good with people and I should join him- I could take some of the profits for approaching and maintaining relationships with the business owners and spreading the word of his work throughout my friends. I wish I had. The most interesting things we talked about though were about the nature college itself. He felt that college seemed to be a place where everyone was taught to just think the same and want the same things in life. He'd be frustrated by the expectation that he'd have to produce things that he didn't see much real-world application for. His ambitions lay in what he saw as a more organic and meaningful immediate future- helping people where he saw a need and developing his skills as he went.  I'm not doing this part justice. I don't remember well enough what he said, but the impression that it left was that he was a really smart and resourceful guy who saw a need and had the skills and determination to start creating this small business. I remember also that he just didn't do small talk. We talked about that as well. He cut straight to really deep and meaningful conversation topics and I remember sitting on the one wheelock couch just kind of taken aback at first but then drawn in by his thoughtful and honest reflections. He'd acknowledged that he was no good at small talk- he hated it and thought it wasted time. Why talk about meaningless things when you could really get to know someone better or work through a tough problem together? I'm so sorry for your family's loss. The world needed more people like him. "

April L wrote on May 16, 2019:

"I knew Jack briefly from the one term I got to know him during his freshmen year at Dartmouth. We were both part of a team that tried to make college admission prep and writing essay resources more widely available and accessible. Even though I only knew Jack for one term, he was such a bright and driven person that I admired very much. His entrepreneurial spirit combined with his drive for social impact is what I will always remember. "

Jenny (Edgren) Crubaugh wrote on May 15, 2019:

"So very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with your family at this time."

Timothy Enge wrote on May 14, 2019:

"I was also fortunate enough to teach Jack in two classes during his years at HH. I'll always remember him as a smart student, but more than that a kind young man who asked for my help to use his natural abilities to help research a local environmental issue all on his own. As both a teacher and a parent I am so saddened by this news. Jack's family and friends are in my thoughts."

Joanne Quinn Ravina wrote on May 14, 2019:

" Jack was smart, kind, and respectful. He was blessed with a wonderful family and friends who will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Joanne Quinn Ravina "

Nalene Hilker wrote on May 14, 2019:

"I taught Jack for English during his junior and senior years and knew him to be a bright, insightful, and witty young man. It was saddening to see his struggles late in his high school career, and I had hoped for his being able to overcome. My heart is broken for his parents and for Ryan, whom I also taught, as well as all who loved him and hoped the best for him. My prayers are with you all during this unimaginably difficult time."