Dorothy Duffy (Fortunata Minutolo), 94, passed away on June 12, 2022 in Shelby, NC. She was surrounded in her final days by her loving family, caregivers and friends, and the capable and caring doctors and staff of the Atrium Health Hospital in Shelby. Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Roger F. Duffy, who died at the age of 81 on March 31, 2007. Dorothy is survived by her six children, their spouses, 17 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. (The names of her survivors are listed below). She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, dear relatives, her first cousin, Ralph Falbo, and Mary D'Antonio and family.
Dorothy was born on November 29, 1927 to Mariano and Theresa (Daisy) Minutolo in Oakmont, PA. Her father was born in Piano di Sorrento, Italy in 1896 and her mother was born in San Giovanni in Fiore, Calabria, Italy, in 1905. They were both Italian immigrants and came to America for a better life. Dorothy was raised with two sisters, Kay (Catherine Timonere) and Angie (Angela Patton). She was preceded in death by Kay in 1987 and Angie lives in Bradford, PA.
Dorothy spent the majority of her life in Oakmont, PA. She attended schools in Oakmont, and graduated from Oakmont High School in 1944 at the age of 16. She later took college courses at the University of Pittsburgh. Dorothy would say that she graduated on Friday and went to work on Monday to support herself and her parents. Dorothy had a charisma and enthusiasm that was obvious and contagious. A kind executive who saw her potential and work ethic, encouraged her to take a job as a medical secretary in Oakland near the University of Pittsburgh at a doctor's office and that spring-boarded her into another world of opportunity. She was a first-generation Italian-American, grew up during the depression, and created her life by working hard, being creative, and seizing opportunities. She grew up poor, but with love, and always "made something out of nothing."
Dorothy met Roger Francis Duffy at a dance ballroom in Pittsburgh called "Where the Kings meet the Queens," and they were married in 1954. She went dancing with her friends 4 nights a week and was great at the jitter-bug. Dorothy and Roger first lived in Squirrel Hill, PA, and then built a house next door to her parents in Oakmont to raise 6 children. It was a tiny house with a big back yard - 2 bedrooms upstairs- one for the boys and one for the girls.
Dorothy and Roger were very political and jumped into campaigns and causes with both feet. Dorothy was a delegate to the 1972 Democratic Presidential convention, ran for the town's Council while she was pregnant, served on the Home Rule Study Commission, served on the Democratic Committee in Pittsburgh, ran for County Commissioner using the slogan, "Why Not Dorothy Duffy?" and more. She supported other candidates, wrote letters, went door-to-door to campaign, organized and signed petitions, had a parade in downtown Pittsburgh (The Pittsburgh Press called it "Dorothy Duffy Day") and expressed her views with conviction and passion. Her latest campaign at age 93 was to have the Confederate monument in Shelby's town square removed and relocated, getting hundreds of names on petitions and speaking with confidence and clarity at the County's official meeting just a few months ago. Her husband, Roger, a decorated World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge at 18 (Bronze Star with Valor), and a graduate of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, was also committed to political action, and served as the Oakmont Mayor, on the town Council, and in the Pennsylvania State Legislature for 14 years. Each May and November, they and the family charged into action for the primary and general elections.
Dorothy was a homemaker for many years, but loved being out of the home! She and Roger worked hard. She took care of both of her parents and many, many friends and neighbors. She worked downtown as a jury investigator and later as a clerk to the Honorable Joseph James, of the Court of Common Pleas. After Dorothy retired, in 2005 they moved to Shelby, NC to be closer to their daughters, Crissy and Suzy (in Gastonia), and to avoid the Pittsburgh winters. While it was difficult to leave life-long friends, they immediately became part of the community and joined their church. Dorothy was a people-person; she was curious about everyone and their story, and questioned them (some say interrogated) with passionate interest. For the past two years, she set up an advice and conversation table at the Saturday Farmer's Market in Shelby and gave out free advice to people of all ages - with sincerity, candor, and humor.
All of those who knew Dorothy from across the United States and Europe (especially The Italian Mammas, Mimma, Franca, Lele, Cristina, Michelle), know that her love language is food - and in particular meatballs. She wrote and published a cookbook called "Around Fortunata's Table" with her recipes, her mother's recipes, life stories, and her unique Italian perspective. The proceeds went to Holy Angels in Belmont - an amazing organization which cares for physically and mentally fragile children and adults. She added this quote to her cookbook: "Food comes down to one thing. It brings people together - brings friends together - brings enemies together for that matter. There are very few things in the world that have that kind of power." (Source: Tim Love) Dorothy brought her meatballs to many folks - doctors, nurses, audiologists, bank tellers, friends, neighbors, teachers, deacons, and priests. She carried them in her purse (sometimes frozen) -- you could catch the scent of garlic and parsley as she passed by. She always said "use a heavy hand" for herbs and ingredients when making meatballs. They were her way to connect with people, to love, to say thank you, to feed your soul, and to say remember me. Other dishes served the same purpose too: eggplant parmesan, lasagna, apple pies, and pizzelles. Later in life her beloved caregivers helped her make her delicious food and delivered it to many, including the Boys & Girls Club in Shelby. Many people sat around her table and enjoyed her food, conversation, and the unexpected! There was always room at the table for one more and you really never knew what was going to happen.
In terms of a legacy, it is family. Family was everything. That was her mission every day. She added people to the family ... so it was pretty big. Another part of her legacy is she believed in people. Since her passing, so many have said to us - she "believed in me." So, a part of her legacy is about believing in someone else - looking in their eyes and saying "I believe in you." And, of course, her legacy is the power of food - that generous, somewhat maniacal passion. And prayer ... Dorothy prayed for us - and loved St. Francis, Padre Pio, Edel Quinn, and the Blessed Mother, Mary. Her prayers were powerful and she wrote that her favorite line of prayer is: "May the Divine Assistance always remain with ___ (family, my children, grandchildren...)." We pray that Dorothy's spirit remains with you all and that you will carry her qualities and lessons forward in your lives.
On Thursday, June 16, 2022, for friends and family, a rosary will be said at 6pm at Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home, 106 Cherryville Road, Shelby, NC and visitation will follow from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the same location. A funeral mass will be held on Friday, June 17, at 12:30 pm at Queen of the Apostles, Roman Catholic Church, 503 N. Main Street, Belmont, NC. A memorial service will be held later in the summer in Oakmont, PA. Live streaming of the funeral mass will be available on the Church's website, www.queenoftheapostles.org.
A guest registry and In Memoriam page is on the funeral homes website.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to:
• Holy Angels, 6600 Wilkinson Blvd, PO Box 710, Belmont, NC 28012
• Boys & Girls Club of America
412 W. Sumter St., Shelby, NC 28150
Family: Suzanne and Stephen Hannon; Justin and Rachel Hannon, and Cora, Laine and Grant; Stephanie Hannon Stauning and Jonathan Stauning; John D. and Hayley Hannon, and Keenan, Hollin and Auden Hannon; David and Jamie Hannon; Kathryn Hannon Pearson and Christopher Pearson, and Jack Pearson. Roger Duffy and Heidi Olson; Lucas Olson Duffy and Lila Olson-Duffy, Diane Duffy and Jeffrey Birrell, Clarke, Grace and Sibling Birrell, Charles Duffy and Bonnie Hogue Duffy, Matthew and Ryan Duffy, John Duffy and Nathalie Cadilhac Duffy, Alexander and Camille Duffy
Cristina and Patrick Hayes, William, Sophia and Andrew Hayes Caregivers: We are grateful for our current caregiver team led by Mrs. Shirley Wright, Mrs. Flossie Johnson, along with Molly Carpenter, Pat Brown, Pam Bristol, and Carrie Kale.
Online condolences may be made at www.cecilmburtonfuneralhome.com
Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home & Crematory
106 Cherryville Rd Shelby, NC 28150