In Tribute to Bishop Paul Andrews Duffey

Bishop Paul Andrews Duffey

Bishop Paul Andrews Duffey

December 23, 1920—March 18, 2012

(Dr. Karl K. Stegall) – When King David learned the news of the death of Abner, he turned to his friends near him and said, “Do you not know that a prince and great man has fallen this day in Israel?” (II Samuel 3:38)  I share those same sentiments today as I reflect upon the death of Bishop Paul Andrews Duffey, who has been my “father in the ministry” over the past 45 years.

Bishop Duffey was truly one of God’s humble servants.   He was a Christian gentleman in the highest sense of the word.   He always lifted our spirits to the higher, nobler things of life.  He modeled for all of us in a unique way Christian piety and social action.

Born a twin on December 13, 1920 in Brownsville, Tennessee, Bishop Duffey moved with his parents when he was eight years of age to East Tallassee, Alabama.   He graduated from Tallassee High School, Birmingham Southern College, and Vanderbilt University before returning to the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 1946.  He married Louise Calhoun on June 20, 1944 at the Church Street United Methodist in Selma, Alabama.  God blessed them with a son, Paul, Jr., and a daughter, Melanie.

He served six different appointments in the Alabama-West Florida Conference: Abbeville (Ala.); First Church, Marion (Ala.); Dexter Avenue, Montgomery (Ala); First Church, Pensacola (Ala.); First Church, Dothan, (Ala.); and First Church, Montgomery (Ala.).   He served as the Montgomery District Superintendent before being elected a bishop in 1980.   For eight years, he served as the episcopal leader of the Louisville Area.

One of my favorite definitions of a saint is “one who makes it easier for others to believe in God.”  Bishop Duffey was that kind of individual.   He made goodness contagious.  He spent a lifetime modeling those words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times and in all ways, and when necessary, use words!”

To this gentle spiritual giant, I would express the words of Charles Wesley,

“Servant of God, well done!
Thy glorious warfare’s past;
The battle’s fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last!”

Bishop Duffey and recipients.

Bishop Duffey with Dr. Stegall and scholarship recipients at the August 2011 Foundation Banquet. Photo courtesy of Paul Robertson.

More photographs of Bishop Duffey may be found here in our gallery.

Services for Bishop Duffey will be Friday, March 23, at First United Methodist Church, Montgomery. Visitation will be in the church fellowship hall at 10 a.m., followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary. A private burial will be held prior to the services. The family will also greet friends on Thursday, March 22, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Leak Memory Chapel in Montgomery, Ala.

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13 Responses to “In Tribute to Bishop Paul Andrews Duffey”
  1. Libby Norris says:

    This is beautiful Karl….as is expected of you. He was such a special man, and will be missed, but he is so happy to be back with his Louise.

  2. Faye B Forbus says:

    Dr. Duffey was a fine man and it is a fine tribute you have accorded him. He and you have served the ministry of the church well. Bless you both, good and faithful servants.

  3. Emily McLemore says:

    Thank you for saying so well what we all feel for Bishop Duffey.

  4. Laura Selby says:

    What a great tribute to such a godly, gentle and kind man. He will be missed by so many people!!!

  5. Winnie Landsverk says:

    Brother Duffy preached our little church in Screamer, Alabama, Liberty United Methodist and was there the year I was born, 1948. He christened me at 2 weeks old and said I was the youngest he had christened. We loved him so dearly all these years as his wife. He preached a sermon about my Daddy while at Montgomery and my Aunt Sadie corresponded with him and Miss Louise until her death 2 years ago. A wonderful man of God and a great witness to our Lord.

  6. Hampton Hampton Kicklighter says:

    I feel empty today, for one of the great Christian leaders that guided me in ministry is gone. However, believing as he did, he is now with Louise and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, a reward He most justly deserved. Thank you Bishop Duffey for the example and the guidance. I shall always be grateful.
    Hampton Kicklighter

  7. Margie says:

    What a wonderful tribute for a dear man!

  8. Jon Blake says:

    Praying for Dr. Duffey’s family, and that he may rest in peace. He was a great witness for Christ. He taught us all to turn to God in prayer, asking the Lord to be in control of our lives, that the Holy Spirit might work in our hearts, as we learn to love and forgive one another as God loves and forgives us in His dear Son Jesus.

  9. Langdon Garrison says:

    Paul Duffey was also my role model for ministry. He served the Church faithfully all the days of his life. And he was a good friend. Already he is missed.

  10. Susie Strong says:

    Oh, Karl, you have the same gift of words that Paul Duffey did! How marvelous that you learned so much from him and have given back your own many gifts. Thank you for your tribute to our beloved Bishop. Love in Christ, Susie

  11. Paula Mathis says:

    Karl: Thank you for this wonderful tribute to our precious Bishop Duffey. As always, your gift for saying just the right thing speaks for all of us as we grieve, but celebrate this Saint. When I think of “Duffey,” as our family has called him for years, I hear the great hymn, “For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest.” I expect God himself met Duffey at the gates, rather than St. Peter!

    Thanks for this.

    In Him,
    Paula Mathis

  12. Terry Ledbetter Dennis says:

    My mom, Liz Ledbetter, and myself worked for Dr. Duffey while he was the district superintendent in Montgomery, AL. Our office was at Huntington College. He was one of the finest men we knew. We moved to TN back in 1979, but he still kept in touch with my parents. He will truly be missed.

  13. jack stanley says:

    Thank you for sharing this tribute, Karl. Perfectly describing the humble giant He was for me. From the first time I met him to the last he knew my name and seemed genuinely glad to see me. Always by his wife serving, he no doubt is again.

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