Virginia Elizabeth Duff
Aug. 26, 1920 - Jan. 13, 2012
FERRIS - Virginia Elizabeth Duff, age 91, passed away Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 at her residence in Ferris.
She was born Aug. 26, 1920 to Samuel Davis and Fannie Farrar Duff in Ferris.
Virginia graduated in 1938 from Ferris High School as Valedictorian of her class, and from Trinity University in 1942, the last year it was located in Waxahachie before moving to San Antonio. She served on the National Alumni Board of Trinity University for 6 years and in 2003 was awarded the Distinguished Spirit of Trinity award.
She taught school at Hutchins Elementary School for two years before receiving a Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University in 1948 and was sworn in as an attorney in the Ellis County Courthouse by State District Judge A.R. Stout that same year.
In 1950 she was elected to represent Ellis County in the House of Representatives of the Texas Legislature where she served for 12 years, introducing a bill creating the Denton State School and a bill requiring vehicles to stop when approaching school buses loading or unloading children. During her tenure she was appointed by the Speaker of the House as Chairman of State Hospital and Special Schools in 1953, and Chairman of the Penitentiaries Committee in 1955 and took her committee to visit each of these state facilities and make recommendations for their improvement. Other standing committees on which she served were: Appropriations, State Affairs and Criminal Jurisprudence.
Interim committees she was appointed to were the Committee to Codify Laws Governing Local Water Districts and a Committee to represent Texas on the Council of State Governments. Governor Allan Shivers appointed her to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, in 1955 she was appointed as one of a five-member committee of the House of Representatives to Investigate the Veteran’s Land Scandal of Texas.
Miss Duff was an employee of Magnolia Petroleum, later Mobil Oil Company as a laboratory assistant in geophysical work from 1944 to 1976.
In 1932 she became a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Ferris where she served as Trustee, Elder and Clerk and in 1994 obtained a Texas Historical Marker, noting its founding in 1858.
Her membership in civic organization include: organizing and past Regent of the Rebecca Boyce Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; Honorary State member of Delta Kappa Gamma; past Chairman of Ellis County Historical Commission; Director of Ferris Memorial Parks, Inc. for which she obtained the charter for the non-profit organization from the State of Texas in 1962; past President of Smith Cemetery Association; Member State Bar of Texas; Farm Bureau; Historic Waxahachie; Chautauqua Preservation Society; and Friends of the Texas State Cemetery where her cenotaph is located.
Her honors include Ferris Citizen of the Year in 1998, and she is listed in Who’s Who in Texas, Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in Texas Historical Society.
She traveled extensively after the loss of her mother with the Citizens Club of Citizens National Bank of Waxahachie.
She is preceded in death by her father in 1929, her mother in 1986, her brother James Farrar Duff in 1969, also by her grandparents, James Robert and Margaret Cockrell Duff, James Hans and Anna Marshall Farrar.
She was a very devoted daughter, cousin, friend, and community advocate. She will be dearly missed by family, friends and all the lives that she has touched.
Survivors include numerous cousins in the Duff, Farrar, Pratt, Orr Green, Kooken, Clopton and Prude families, early pioneers of Ellis County.
Funeral service were held Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 at the First Presbyterian Church, 201 N. Church St. in Ferris with Rev. Jim Riley officiating. Internment followed in the Ferris Memorial Park North.
Pallbearers were Henry Byrd, Jr., Edwin Farrar, Franklin Farrar, R.L. Farrar, Rene Medina, J.H. Toomey, Odell Wilson. Honorary Pallbearers: Dr. Ronald Calgaard, Boyce Farrar Jr., Preston Hallman, Duff Hallman, Judge Robert Hughes, Lee Longino and Honorable Jim Pitts.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Green Funeral Home.
Memorials can be made to the charity of your choice.