Duane J. Flaherty, survivor extraordinaire, nevertheless caught the eye of Divine Providence on July 29, 2013 to give up this earthly life and journey to the next. Mass of Christian Burial at Duane's longtime parish Church of St. Ann, 7231 Mission Rd., Prairie Village, KS, will be at 11am on Thursday, August 1st. Visitation will precede Mass at 10am. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery, Lenexa, KS. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made to Catholic Relief Services, 228 West Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, or to another charity of choice serving the poor in our global community.
Duane was born in August 1914 in Hartford, CT, first-born of Mary Ellen Duane and Claude V. Flaherty, M.D. He eloped with his high school sweetheart, Gertrude Sanderson, to Millerton, NY in 1931. He then worked days at G.Fox & Co. in downtown Hartford, and studied nights, earning a B.A. from Trinity College, Hartford in 1935 and an M.A. in 1940. For a young husband and father, this was much-appreciated work and study during the Depression.
In 1941, Duane took a position with Field-Schlick & Co. in St. Paul, MN. Two years later, he became associated with O'Connor, Moffatt on Union Square in San Francisco. He joined the Navy during WWII, with O.N.I. (Office of Navy Intelligence) sending Duane and family to Boulder, CO for Duane to learn Japanese at the University of Colorado's Navy Japanese Language School. Ensign Flaherty served his country as a Japanese interpreter during the Occupation in Fukuoka (Kyushu), Japan. His experience with the Japanese people he met during this time and in later years resulted in several lifelong friendships maintained, eventually, through correspondence.
In April 1946, Lt. j.g. Flaherty, upon release from his military duties, accepted the position of Fur Buyer at Woolf Brothers in downtown Kansas City. In 1952, he transferred to Mabley & Carew in Cincinnati, and, in 1957, to Scruggs, Vandervoort, Barney in St. Louis. Finally, in 1962, Duane and family resolved to return to their favorite city of K.C., MO, and he became Fur Buyer at Harzfeld's on Petticoat Lane, followed in 1969 by the position of Fur Buyer at Swanson's on the Plaza. Duane was a charter member of the Retail Advisory Committee of the Fur Information and Fashion Council, and was a Director of the Fur Council of the National Retail Merchants Association (1960-1977).
Duane enjoyed both writing fiction and listening to classical music, especially the Italian operas of Verdi, Rossini and Bellini. His favorite restaurant in later years was Tony Scudiero's Villa Capri in Overland Park, KS, where Tony would sing, or play on CD, Duane's favorite arias during dinner on Saturday evenings after Mass. As a writer, Duane's novel, "A Circle of Sand," was published in 1965. It was reviewed in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (4-17-65) by Barbara Lawson: "Duane Flaherty writes in a sparing manner with no unnecessary trivia. The protagonist, Don Sheeley, reflects the weakness and pride that besets mankind, with which the honest reader cannot fail to identify."
Duane lived a happy life and a long life, with, truth be told, the dividing line being the death of his beloved wife Gertrude in 1995. Theirs was a truly happy marriage of sixty-three years, devoted to each other. In addition to his wife Gertrude, Duane was predeceased by his parents, his brother Morgan V. Flaherty; his aunts Rheta, Bess, Ann and Kit Duane; and his in-laws Bertha and George Sanderson. He is survived by his daughter Gail L. Sturdevant and her husband Howard, Kansas City; his granddaughter Michele A. Jeka and her husband Paul, Atlantic Highlands, NJ; his nephew Morgan W. Flaherty and his wife Abbie, Niantic, CT; two nieces, Alison D. Traston and Patia R. Haverty and their families; his former sister-in-law Patia Mc Donough Kinnicut, West Hartford, CT; and many dear friends from near and far.
Duane's family would like to thank Peter Holt, MD; the staff of the Forum at Overland Park for eight years of exceptional, loving care of Duane; and the Catholic Community Hospice team during his last month.
Addio, Duane---we will always remember your fighting spirit; your humor in the midst of difficulties; your amazing charm; and your happiness during life with Gertrude. (Arrangements by D.W. Newcomer's Sons Overland Park Chapel, 8201 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66204, 913-648-6224)