On Monday, October 25th, 2021, Lillian Julia (Cisco) Duffy gently passed into the tender embrace of Jesus and Mary with her devoted family by her side. She was predeceased by her husband James E. Duffy in 2008 and son John C. Duffy in 2004. Also predeceased by her parents Julia and George Cisco, her siblings and in-laws, Anna, John, William and Alex Cisco, Betty and Peter Cisco, Ann and Walter Cisco, Elsie and Frank Gogal, Helen and Tony Ciupinski, Betty and Frank Duffy, Virgie and Ray Duffy and Tess and Joe Duffy. Predeceased also by nieces and nephews Douglas, Richard, Delores, Walter, Frank, Patricia, Kathleen, and Ray.
Left to cherish her memory are her children Christina Faith Duffy, James A. Duffy, and Julie Hope and Harry Ladisheff, grandchildren and great-grandchildren Melissa Leigh and Ryan Ellis and their children Mira and Haven, Hailieann and Ivan Duffy and their children Gavin and Rowan, Miraida and Neil Duffy and their children Stella and Miles, and Stephanie and Thomas Duffy and their children Fallon, Violet, Raven and Killian. Surviving also are brother Robert Cisco in California, and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Lilly was born in 1927 and grew up in Newark before moving to North Plainfield in 1969. She was the youngest girl in a family of 10 children. She had a happy childhood and upon entering East Side High School, played sports, acted in plays, participated in poetry readings, led her classmates in prayer and made wonderful friends. Lilly loved music, singing and dancing. She was the lead Drum Majorette for her high school band for three years and was so proud to throw that baton high as she marched on the playing field, in band competitions and throughout the streets of Newark in parades. With her vibrant personality and her sunshine smile, she was the perfect choice to represent the school and community. She worked at a tailor shop and began to learn the art of sewing and greeting patrons and was so very proud the first time she was left to manage the store on her own. At age 11, when playing in Riverbank Park, she met a “very nice, quiet boy” of 14. They tossed a baseball together, and from that moment on, Jimmy was to become her best friend, her sweetheart, and her devoted husband of 58 years – the truest love of her life. Together they spent 79 years of loving, growing, sharing their faith, and raising their family.
Lilly worked outside the home for many years in several cleaning establishments including Vogue Cleaners and G. O. Keller’s. Patrons would so often come to the stores just to chat and say hello. She also worked in the North Plainfield High School cafeteria, where she overfed the kids and sometimes did not even charge for their lunches! When she left the high school, the kids continued to come to her home for visits, meals and just to talk. Her kindness was infectious, but despite loving her jobs, Mom’s home and her family were her hearts devotion, and the doors were literally always open. Mom was a phenomenal cook, and the house was always filled with family and friends who just happened to drop by to see what was on the stove. As soon as the front door opened, we always knew what was cooking and couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen to eat, but more importantly, to look at that beautiful face standing at the stove in her apron with those smiling jade green eyes. Our home was filled with the smells of cooking (pierogies, potato pancakes, galumpkies) and with the sounds of laughter, music and singing. Nights were spent listening to Big Band music, the 4-Seasons, Louie Prima, Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Andrea Bocelli and so many more. Watching Mom and Dad dance was an experience in itself. Every step in sync, every movement so natural, especially their famous sidestep. Always holding hands, laughing, and simply loving.
As much as Mom loved her home, she loved her porch! Sitting in her wicker chairs, surrounded by beautiful flowers and her grotto for Blessed Mary, she greeted each day with gratitude and couldn’t wait to talk with neighbors and passersby. She had a smile, a kind word and laughter for everyone who stopped by. Neighbors, delivery persons, utility workers and even the neighborhood dogs would stop for a visit. Summer nights were often spent with family talking, listening to music, and of course, always eating something delicious – ice cream and cookies were Mom’s favorites, and any type of sweets would do for Dad. Times on the porch with others was always great fun, but Mom and Dad often spent quiet moments talking, reading or just being together. Life’s challenges were met with the grace of God, courage and trust and life’s joys were shared and glorified. It was always Jim + Lil = Love. Their examples served us all well, and we carry them with us always. Quiet, unassuming, kind, generous, humble, non-judgmental, and willing to help anyone, without question. These were the lessons learned from these two people: our parents, our grandparents, and our great grandparents - our angels on earth.
As we miss Mom, we know that she is dancing again in Heaven with our Dad and brother. She was a devout, faithful servant who prayed the Rosary and Chaplet of Mercy with intent. She prayed constantly for family and friends and promised that she would continue to do so. She was gentle and tender and yet so strong in her convictions. Truly, she had a heart of gold and epitomized the word “Mother.” She loved Our Lord and very simply considered Our Blessed Mother to be her best friend. Mom used our Blessed Mother and Her Mother, Good St. Anne as her models, and in both challenges and good times, Mom would always tell us to “go to Mary.” What comfort we hold in our hearts knowing that Mom is now in Joy and Peace and Grace and Glory with all of her loved ones. We will carry her heart in our hearts, always. Rest well Mom in your Holy Sleep . . . “Lovin’ you always.”