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Builder remembered for his love of community

Posted: May 25, 2012 - 4:42pm  |  Updated: May 30, 2012 - 12:14pm
Hubert Duffie, 85, died Thursday from a prolonged illness. His family hopes he'll be remembered as a man of integrity who wanted to better his community.  Hand Out
Hand Out
Hubert Duffie, 85, died Thursday from a prolonged illness. His family hopes he'll be remembered as a man of integrity who wanted to better his community.

Twitter @JennaNMartin

Building was a way of life for Hubert Duffie.

Duffie, of Martinez, not only built countless churches and schools throughout the Augusta area, but he also shaped the community around him in the process.

At age 85, Duffie died Thursday from a prolonged illness.

His daughter, Gail Stebbins, hopes that people will remember her father as a man with “extreme integrity” who cared deeply about those in need and wanted to leave the world a better place.

“He never asked for recognition,” she said. “Daddy was one of those who liked to quietly work behind the scenes.”

Duffie is survived by another daughter, Suzanne Painter, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Old Abilene Cemetery.

Duffie, a lifelong member of Warren Baptist Church, also was a strong advocate of education.

In 1980, he actively lobbied for Columbia County to get its first library, and even donated the land where he was raised on North Belair Road for the construction of Warren C. Gibbs Memorial Library.

“My father was very, very big on education,” said Stebbins, whose parents donated money to several scholarship funds. “That was the big thing he always instilled in us.”

Having founded H.W. Duffie Construction in 1960 with his late wife, Eleanor, Duffie was active in the building community. He served as president of the Augusta Builders exchange, president of the Augusta Contractors Association and charter member and president of the Exchange Club of Columbia County.

Duffie was named a master mason for more than 50 years of service with the Martinez Masonic Lodge.

His construction projects in the area include Paine College Gilbert Lambert Chapel, First Baptist Church of Augusta, First Presbyterian Church of Augusta and the Augusta Country Club.

“Daddy used to laugh and say that he had spent more time in churches than most preachers he knew because of the number of churches he built,” Stebbins said.

Stebbins said her parents, married for 59 years, enjoyed both golfing and tennis. Her father, who she recalled as “always happy,” also reveled in taking family vacations.

Her parents, Stebbins said, always regarded each other as equals.

Duffie raised his daughters to ignore gender boundaries and pursue any career path they wanted, citing “the sky is the limit,” Stebbins said.

“He is my hero,” she said.

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