7 December 2012

Everyone’s Joanie

posted by Judy Williams

We often turned to Joan Duffy to write the obituaries of noted campus folks, past and present. She enjoyed digging into people’s history, pulling out interesting parts of their lives that people would want or need to know.

When I got word that Joan gently passed away early last night, I thought about what she would want people to know about her.

First and foremost, she loved her family. Just this week, she was planning her annual holiday trip to Florida where her father and brother live. She asked me Monday for an extra day off so she could leave a little earlier.

She cherished her friends, many of them media cronies, but more recent friends at UALR. It was no wonder she embraced Facebook to keep them close.

Her passion was journalism, from her college days as a newspaper editor to the height of her career as a political correspondent at the Arkansas State Capitol.

She was an avid storyteller; we could listen to her tales of the 60s and Whitewater and the Arkansas legislature all day if we had time.

Friends of Joan: we need your help. Share with us your stories and other things Joan would want us to know.

Joan with Tom Brokaw

Joan with Mike BeebeJoan as a Trojan

8 Responses to “Everyone’s Joanie”

  1. Jef says:

    The picture near the bottom with her and Gov. Beebe, I remember working that day as a GA in the Comm Office as a video editor/cameraman. That day was cold, and soaked due to a massive rain storm. I was soaked to the bone and she was pretty much water logged but it was all a good laugh. She got her story for print and I got my footage for the web.
    I’ll miss our random chats we had when she would come fill her cup up with ice.

  2. Jennifer Godwin says:

    As they say, Joan’s reputation preceded her. So I knew of her formidable talents, her wit, her take-no-prisoners style.

    My first day on the job here at UALR, she and I drove to the State Capitol to drop off something at Gov. Beebe’s office. She let me go inside while she waited in her car, even though she would have loved going to shoot the breeze with the governor for a bit (which he surely would have done).

    When I returned, her car was blocking the tunnel, and she was chatting away with a police officer who showed no intention of making her move. “We go way back,” she informed me. They laughed a knowing laugh, and I had a feeling she could say that about so many she crossed paths with over the years. What a lady.

  3. Drew Pritt says:

    I had known Joan from my days working at the State Capitol and later running for Lt. Governor. When I was in the UALR Student Senate, I successfully passed a resolution to encourage the revival of the UALR Football program. I happened to see Joan and she looked at me with that skeptical look she could give and said with a smirk and a smile, “Pritt what mischief are you up to now.” I explained the merits and the benefits of my idea. She replied graciously, “You always were full of ideas.” I replied “Yes and imagine if I had the platform of Lt. Governor to share them.” She replied “You never would have won in that race,” paused and then finished by saying, “But you would have made some interesting stories for the press to write about.” Thats what I will miss. She was sarcastic and sweet at the same time. She might be realistic in how she viewed reality, but there still was a dreamer to her. Most of all, she was always friendly and always a friend. I will miss her.

  4. Victoria Miller (Rinald) says:

    I worked in the UALR Communications Office as a student worker around 2007. I helped Joan do the “Out of Towner” articles about UALR students. I knew very little about journalism and she taught me a great deal about how to really show a person in a few words but to really give it a punch. She helped me refine my writing and prepared me for my life outside of being a student.

    I learned a great deal in that role at the Communications Office and appreciate the opportunity to learn from Joan and the others in that office while I was there.

    Prayers to all her coworkers, friends, and family!


  5. Klansee j. Tozer says:

    Joan, you were a pleasure to work with and get to know. I will miss your funny stories and sense of humor, your sassy self. Thank you for your encouragement and support over the years. You were like a “mamma hen” to me…encouraging me along the way, in your “honest, straight-shooter, tell it like it is” sort of way. I thank God for allowing me to work with you and for the things I learned from you. I am sorry you were taken too early…you didn’t just leave a mark though, you left a great impression and we are all better for knowing you.

  6. James Christopher Oden says:

    It is sad to see the passing of one in the Educational field, of which there are sometimes few to find as dedicated, as in Joans history.

    But let us not forget aboutt he things that she made better and more comforting for those not only as students, but family and co-workers alike.

    My prayers go out to the surviving family, may the students and staff be their for them, and that they may reach to take people to better places, and use her success as a basis for going futher, overcoming obstacles, and achieving goals that they may have never thought possible without people like Joan, and the associates she made better, alongside her own succeses.

    James Christopher Oden
    UALR 2005-

  7. Ronni Patriquin Clark says:

    Besides being a hell of a journalist (everyone knows that), Joan knew how to have fun. She loved to dance. She was the queen of the disco when we state capitol reporters in Louisiana would go out at night following a hard day at the legislature. At that time she loved her margaritas, although she was not one to get drunk. She loved her Irish heritage and was known for breaking out into Irish freedom songs after a margarita or two or a shot of Jameson. Toward the end of her life, she fell in love with a mojito, although because of her health problems could only have one every now and then. But she kept the makings around, including fresh mint, just for those rare occasions.

    Joan loved her Diet Coke. She began with Tab and taught me to like that, but when Diet Coke appeared on the scene it was love at first sip. She traveled with her Diet Cokes. She would come to stay for a visit with one small suitcase and lots of Diet Cokes.

    She was warm, funny, loyal, a fighter and one of the best friends I will ever have. My husband — whom Joan called Mr. Greenjeans for his gardening skills — and I love her and miss her and still can’t believe she is gone. We miss her terribly already. Rest in peace Joan Irene Duffy.

  8. Amy Manning says:

    Joan usually helped me with the media at UALR’s largest fundraising event, Finale. I was less than a month fresh off maternity leave, and my feet had not quite gotten back to normal size. No bother: I was going to show up in style at the gala in a pair of ruby-satin, high-heeled shoes.

    Joan took one look at my shoes and, “You’re not making it through the night with those on.”

    I lasted about two hours in those pumps until my pride crumbled. Admitting defeat, Joan offered me her shoes instead.

    That night, she left the Jack Stephens Center barefoot, and I left in a pair of black flip flops.

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