Obituary of Irvin DUELL

Irvin L. DUELL, 77, of Coudersport, PA, died Tuesday, November 22, 2016 in Cole Memorial Hospital, Coudersport.

Born December 16, 1938, in Galeton, PA, he was the son of Ernest A. and Florence Johnston Duell.

His is a story of perseverance, intertwined with an important lesson about the power of human kindness. On that count, Irvin was on both the giving and receiving end.

Irvin had a difficult childhood, faced with a mental handicap and limited financial means. He lived for a time at the Northern Tier Children’s Home in Harrison Valley. He spent much of his early adult life in Pittsburgh, where he worked at a home for orphaned boys. There was a time when Irvin witnessed excessive discipline in the boys’ home. These incidents were regularly whitewashed by the administration – until the state inspectors, by chance, chose to strike up a conversation with a smiling orderly. Irvin related the physical abuse that he had witnessed and led the inspectors to some of the victims who revealed the wounds of the abuse they had been suffering. Within weeks, there was a new supervisory team in place at the home.

After his job in Pittsburgh was eliminated, Irvin moved to Coudersport and established a growing circle of friendships. He would get a helping hand here and there, but was largely self-sufficient. Among his most anticipated experiences were his trips to Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games with a friend. In the winter he emerged from his apartment before 5 am to begin shoveling snow and making his rounds downtown. In warmer weather, he’d wash windows or pull weeds. He’d also eagerly run errands for several friendly downtown merchants and offices. Locals and passers-by would be greeted with a smile and a wave.

As a volunteer at the Coudersport Theatre for many years, he calmed unruly kids, cleaned spills and helped patrons find seats.

Over the past few years, he became a regular attendee of the First United Presbyterian Church. Irvin Duell was the embodiment of the Golden Rule. Whenever somebody needed a hand – holding open a door, carrying a heavy load or running an errand – he was ready to serve.

During his recent convalescence, a steady stream of well-wishers from all walks of life called on him at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital.

Surviving are: a sister, Alice Hoffman of Coudersport, PA; a brother, Fred Duell of Pittsburgh; nieces and nephews; and a host of friends. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by three sisters, Hazel E. Duell, Dorothy Badmone, and Leona “Toni” Ludwig.

Friends may call at First United Presbyterian Church, Coudersport, PA on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, with Funeral Services following at 12:00 Noon. Lay speaker Linda Karija will officiate. Attendees are encouraged to wear Pittsburgh Pirates apparel. Burial will be in Ulysses Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Teacher’s Pet Rescue, 19 Blackberry Lane, Coudersport, PA 16915.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Olney Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Ulysses, PA.

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