There was no shortage of stories being passed around at the Elks Club last Friday afternoon, as friends and family joined together to celebrate the life of Precinct 1 Councilor Mike McDuffee, a man who was known as a source of light in a sometimes-dark world. While it is agreed by all that the town of Winthrop has suffered a great loss from the passing of McDuffee, his memory will live on in the many stories that those closest to him will continue to share.
“It was a pleasure knowing Mike, he was like a big brother to me,” said Ed Stasio, who met Mike on a roofing crew right after high school.
Stasio and McDuffee played hockey together for 20 years and spent countless Saturday evenings in a barn behind Stasio’s house, along with several other close friends. McDuffee and his brother Bob were known for their competitive nature and were deemed the “Evil Empire,” during dart games at the weekly gatherings.
McDuffee’s humor was at its best when he was spending time with his friends at the barn, and he will forever be known for inventing the “hole in the beer can initiation.” Always the joker, McDuffee took pride in poking a hole in the top of a beer can before offering it to his latest victim, typically a first-timer of the barn. The victim would inevitably end up with beer dribbling down his chin and shirt, and McDuffee would be hovered over in an uncontrollable fit of laughter.
Precinct 5 Councilor Pete Christopher was the last of McDuffee’s victims to be on the receiving end of the beer can prank. According to Christopher, McDuffee’s prank was well-practiced, always starting out in a hospitable gesture, and ending up in endless laughter.
“It’s done so perfectly that you would question if you are mistakenly dribbling, and after a couple of sips you ask yourself what it wrong with your mouth,” said Christopher, who admitted that it only took him three sips before he caught on. “That was classic Mike, having fun with everyone.”
“He was a salt of the earth kind of guy,” Precinct 5 Councilor Pete Christopher.
McDuffee’s life was filled with moments that have transpired into memories. As friends and family members continue to gather, the stories that McDuffee was known for will be passed around, creating smiles, laughter, and a legacy that will never be forgotten.
“Michael was a private but loving man whose faith guided his actions, words and deeds,” said resident, Sean Donahue. “He strove always to be the best he could be – family man, business man, athlete, politician, neighbor, and friend. He lived a clean life and I never heard Michael speak badly about anyone. He was always upbeat, cheerful, and friendly, yet, he was passionate about his beliefs, political or otherwise. He wasn’t afraid to take a position on an issue and, if necessary, vigorously fight for it. He was a champion to so many people. The Town of Winthrop is truly a better place because of Michael McDuffee. He will be missed.”