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George Thomas McDuffie
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Birth: Aug. 25, 1927
Hamilton County
Ohio, USA
Death: Apr. 15, 2007
Mount Washington
Hamilton County
Ohio, USA


Thursday, April 19, 2007

MIAMI TOWNSHIP, OHIO - George McDuffie's habit of collecting things nearly cost him his life a couple of times.

Since childhood, he collected many things, including model trains, baseball cards, bottle caps and matchbook covers. But it was his pursuit of snakes and license plates that proved hazardous.

When he was a boy, Mr. McDuffie spied a 1935 Ohio license plate under the old Price Hill Incline. He went after it and in the process cut his leg on a piece of glass. He came down with tetanus and spent four weeks in the hospital in a coma. Out of the hospital and in a wheelchair, he took his first steps after the illness to pursue a 17-year cicada that caught his eye.

By 1961, Mr. McDuffie held a Ph.D. degree in herpetology from the University of Cincinnati and was a biology teacher at Eastern Hills Junior High School.

Back home after a snake-hunting trip in Scioto County, he was bitten by one of the rattlesnakes he had captured. That netted him a 10-day stay at Cincinnati General Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition.

The brushes with fate didn't deter Mr. McDuffie. He continued to collect Gila monsters, copperheads, a 12-foot python, and a 6-foot crocodile in addition to the license plates. He kept some of the reptiles alongside the plates in his basement.

Mr. McDuffie, 79, the biology teacher who was known for letting snakes, alligators and other reptiles roam his classroom, died Sunday at his residence in Miami Township, where he had moved from Mount Washington a year ago to be near his daughter. The cause is undetermined, but doctors speculate that he suffered a stroke.

"Any hobby is of great value because it gives you an interest in life, something to do; it's a challenge and a way to meet people. And it's just a lot of fun," Mr. McDuffie told The Enquirer in a 1980 interview.

His daughter, Jennifer Spurlock, who grew up with the reptile collection, concurred. "It was fun. I just had a wonderful childhood - it was unique. People are always amazed that he had a basement full of snakes and alligators and turtles. We had porcupines. We had skunks. You name it - we had it. It gave me a love for animals (and) a lot of fun memories.

"Dad was just a fun-loving man. He loved life and lived it to the full."

Born in Cincinnati on Aug. 25, 1927, he was a son of Roy O. McDuffie, a professor of physical metallurgy at the University of Cincinnati. Mr. McDuffie graduated from St. Xavier High School and received a bachelor's and a master's degree in zoology, both from the University of Cincinnati.

Mr. McDuffie was a member of the Greater Cincinnati Herpetological Society, the Cincinnati Transit Historical Association and the Association of License Plate Collectors of America.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 48 years, Patricia; a son, Mark McDuffie of Montgomery; a brother, Edward McDuffie of Bellaire, Mich.; a sister, Mathilde McDuffie of Grand Coteau, La.; and five grandchildren.

Visitation is 6-8 p.m. Friday at T.P. White & Sons Funeral Home, Mount Washington. Mass of Christian burial is 2:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Rose Church on Eastern Avenue. Burial will be at Spring Grove Cemetery.
Family links: 
  Patricia M. Milligan McDuffie (1932 - 2012)
Spring Grove Cemetery
Hamilton County
Ohio, USA
Plot: Garden LN, Sec. 19, Lot D, Space 44
Created by: af
Record added: Feb 21, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48433949
George Thomas McDuffie
Added by: Jenny E.
George Thomas McDuffie
Added by: Jenny E.
George Thomas McDuffie
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Added by: Marissa K
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