BILLY MCDUFFIE, AN ALL-AMERICAN MAN

October 4, 2009 - The Lake City Reporter

By H. Morris Williams

William C. (Billy) McDuffie, Jr.  died June 7, 2009, at age 82, but he will always be remembered for his love and devotion to his family, friends, and his beloved Columbia High School where he was a 1945 graduate.

Billy was an outstanding end for the CHS football team. He was well known for his pass-catching and touchdown-scoring abilities and he was just as outstanding in the classroom where he was a top student and a member of the National Honor Society. He also served in various school leadership capacities and was vice president of his senior class.

Billy was always an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting and fishing. Friend Robert L. Green recalls that Billy taught him how to hunt ducks and he said Billy was the best shot he ever saw. Billy was also very active in the National Wild Turkey Federation.

With his love of the outdoors, it was only natural that he would found McDuffie's Marine and Sporting Goods store in 1950 and make it one of the premier sporting goods stores in North Florida. Billy was a true visionary, always having an amazing ability to foresee market trends and to react accordingly.

And, from the beginning he made his store the headquarters for business support for CHS, always volunteering to sell CHS sports tickets at his store.

All in all, Billy McDuffie was an All-American youngster who became an All-American man, a man who was the very model of what a husband, father, churchman, and friend to all should be.

Men like Billy McDuffie are few and far between. His word was his bond and for him a handshake could seal a deal. But, in all his endeavors, he first and foremost loved and cared for his family—and part of his family was the great and honorable traditions of Columbia High School.

Therefore, the Columbia County Quarterback Club made a proud decision to honor Billy by dedicating this year's football program to this rare man among men, their fellow club member, Billy McDuffie.

Nobody could have deserved it more.

THE 1944-45 TIGERS

Billy McDuffie and Ed Montgomery were both CHS 1945 graduates, both played Tiger football, and both died recently.

With that in mind and with it also being football season, here is a look back at the CHS starting lineup their senior year: ends Billy McDuffie and Glenn Jones, tackles Mike Kennon and Roy Allison, guards Ed Montgomery and Robert Howell, center Lynwood Colson, quarterback Bobby Kinard, halfbacks Louis Poindexter and Fred Rozelle, and fullback Wink Criswell.

Playing in the days of one platoon football, these starters played offense and defense and usually played the entire game with no substitutions.

Their weights ranged from Ed Montgomery's 137 pounds to Roy Allison's 172 pounds. For the first three games, the uniforms did not have numbers because the school had ordered new ones and they had not arrived yet.

Interestingly, Ed was the CHS 1945 class president and Billy was class vice president.

WELL DONE, KEITH

Congratulations to Keith Leibfried, top man at First Federal Bank of Florida, who has been honored as LCCC's 2009 "Distinguished Friend of the Foundation." This honor is bestowed annually on an individual or individuals who have supported LCCC in extraordinary ways.

Keith joins other eminently successful community leaders Lester and Anne Scaff, James Montgomery, Tom Brown, and Marvin Pritchett as previous recipients of this prestigious award.


SCHOOL MUSEUM THANKS

* To Gwen and Lowell O'Steen for a rare 1942 yearbook and class ring from Gwen's late sister, Marjorie Rutland---and also from Gwen and Lowell, many certificates and other memorabilia from Lowell's relative, the late Claude Fralick, the first principal at Summers Elementary School.

*To Ed and Jo Anne Zedaker Catledge for donating CHS yearbooks and an assortment of other memorabilia that had belonged to her mother, CHS teacher Doris Zedaker; also newspaper clippings about her father, Homer Zedaker, our county's first countywide Director of Guidance.

SAY WHAT?

A man told his neighbor, "I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me $4,000, but it's state of the art. I just love it. It's perfect."

"Really", answered the neighbor. "What kind is it"? "Oh, the man said, it's about 12:30." square

H. Morris Williams is a local historian and long-time Columbia County resident.

www.hmorriswilliams.com