Philip Duffy

Memorial Service

3:00 pm
Thursday, September 27, 2018
First Presbyterian Church Of Fairfield
2475 Easton Turnpike
Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of Philip Duffy

Philip E. Duffy -- longtime professor at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and the discoverer of the mystery of ballet dancer George Balanchine’s death – died on Friday morning, at his home in Easton, Connecticut.  He was 95 years old.  

Dr. Duffy was born to American parents in Nimes, France, and spent his early years in France, Poland, and the Czech Republic.  A graduate of Columbia College, and then of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, he interned at the Long Island Division of King’s County Hospital, and served a residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  He was a veteran of World War II, and served as captain during the Korean Conflict. As Professor, and later Director of the Division of Neuropathology at Columbia Medical School, he was the author of a book called Astrocytes (Raven Press, 1983) which reviewed the functions of astrocytes, and presented new immunocytochemical of glial fibrillary proteins in those astrocytes in tissue and tissue culture.  

He published over seventy articles in scientific journals in his field.  Among these: electron microscopy of Lewy inclusions in Parkinson’s disease, the ultrastructure of granules in the median eminence, and the first report of a person to person transmission of Creutzfeld-Jacob disease as a result of a corneal transplant.  The latter was reported on May 8, 1984 in the New York Times by science editor Lawrence Altman’s profile of Duffy in “The Doctor’s World: the Mystery of Balanchine’s Death is Solved.”  In retirement, Dr. Duffy published three collections of short stories. He was predeceased by his wife Natalie W. Duffy, and his brother Jacques W. Duffy, a longtime professor of Engineering at Brown University.

He is survived by his sons Henry Duffy, curator of the St. Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire, and Rev. Edward Duffy (wife Lynne), pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Fairfield,  who also serves on the faculty of Hartford Seminary in Hartford, as well as St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut, and two grandchildren, Brooke Duffy (husband Danny Schoch), a reference librarian at Sarah Lawrence, and Philip Duffy (companion Jessie Van Amburg), a software engineer at Kickstarter in Brooklyn. 

A Memorial service will be held on Thursday, September 27, at 3 pm in the First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield, 2475 Easton Turnpike, Fairfield. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church or to the String Quartet of Spring Bay, NY.

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