Former Arlington Heights trustee, state level director, Arlington Park executive and Chicago police officer Ed Duffy, 68, died January 4, 2014 of pulmonary fibrosis with his family beside him at Northwest Community Hospital.
Ed Duffy was a Village of Arlington Trustee from 1983 to 1987, and was instrumental in the beginning stages of downtown redevelopment for Arlington Heights.
While on the Village of Arlington Heights board, Duffy successfully negotiated an agreement with neighboring Prospect Heights for joint funding of a flood control project in Arlington Heights — action which saved money for both communities, and resulted in the development of Lake Arlington, which was completed in 1990.
Before his service on the village board, Duffy was involved in politics at the state level and served as a Chicago police officer. After eight years as a city cop on the streets, he became chief of compliance and enforcement for the Illinois Dangerous Drugs Commission, and in 1980 was named administrator of the commission’s field operations division.
Duffy was soft-spoken but powerful, and was chosen as Director of the Department of Public Aid for the State of Illinois because of his success in bringing people together in a bill favoring the horse racing industry. He was a proponent of giving control of welfare programs to the states as opposed to the federal government because he believed states understood local details better than the federal government.
He also had previously run the Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.
After serving as trustee, Duffy worked in private industry when Chairman DIck Duchossois hired him to oversee the race track’s new OTB ventures. Duffy was promoted to President at Arlington in 1990, and later became COO at Sportsman’s Park.
He was often surrounded by a group of friends, and enjoyed keeping fit at Midtown Athletic Club, formerly known as Forest Grove Athletic Club, in Palatine.
Duffy graduated from Austin High School in the Austin neighborhood in the west side of Chicago.
Ed Duffy is survived by his wife of 46 years, Nancy; five daughters, Colleen Ann Moulton, Meghan Ann Carlson, Kelli Ann, Erin Ann Lahman and Cara Ann; a sister, Pat Johnson; a brother, Bill; and eight grandchildren.
Visitation will begin at 3 p.m. Friday at Countryside Funeral Home, 950 S. Bartlett Road, Bartlett, with a memorial service at 8 p.m.
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