By Dedrick D. Henry, Sr.
Edward Duffie, Sr. believed that hard work and dedication were the key elements in being successful, having himself started as a bank security guard and then later becoming the bank’s vice president at then Capital Bank branch in Liberty City. With no college education or experience, Duffie worked his way up the employment ladder where he went from standing outside to sitting behind a desk. As vice president, Duffie helped many businesses in Northwest Miami start with some $25 million in loans.
Duffie was born in Houston County in Perry, Ga., the youngest of five children. As a child he found time after school to clean the Perry Loan and Savings Bank. This is where he first dreamed of maybe one day working in a bank, but back then Black children weren’t permitted to dream. Duffie joined the Army in 1955 and toured Korea and returned to Miami in 1958 where he worked many jobs before landing his vice presidency at Capital Bank.
Duffie worked maintenance jobs at Miami Beach hotels, pressed clothes at Richards department store and stocked shelves at Woolworth. Duffie married Erma Lee Hawkins in 1959 and together they raised three sons and two daughters. One day while reading the daily paper he found a friend in civil rights columnist Bill Baggs. Duffie wrote to Baggs and gave him praise on his insight and his articles that he had previously read and explained to him how he needed some help. The two later became good friends and in 1963 Baggs recommended Duffie for a job at Lincoln National Bank in Liberty City.
Miami Times publisher ,Garth Reeves, a board member at the time seeked a position for the newly hired Duffie and attempted to put him in accounting, not wanting to fail Duffie requested a start up position like security. He attended evening classes at American Institute of Banking to learn the industry and Duffie added teller training to his list of accomplishments in 1966. Duffie climbed the corporate ladder all the way to the top from security guard, teller, head teller, assistant vice president for business development.
In 1976, when Capital Bank took over Abel Holtz, bank president promoted Duffie to branch manager and later to vice president. Duffie worked as a trustee at Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church and was the president of the senior choir. He was also a chairman with the nonprofit Family Christian Association of America. Duffie is survived by his children Alden( Emma), Sheila, Troy (Cecily), Edward, Jr., and Lisa, seven grandchildren, one great- grandson and sisters Georgia Mae Thomas, Mable Mitchell and Doris Duffie.