John S. Duley Laingsburg, Michigan Obituary

John S. Duley

John S. Duley, age 100, died peacefully on Thursday, July 15, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. From his birth in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 15, 1920 through his final days, John was a champion for progressive social justice. Though his original plan was to be a farmer, he used his life to cultivate spiritual and community well-being. In his early 20s, he met Marian (Betty) while working as a youth leader for the Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio. Though their relationship was blossoming, John felt obligated to join the US Army and served 30 months as a medic in WWII. Upon returning from the Army, he and Betty married and moved to New York where he attended seminary. When asked what the secret to their successful marriage was, John stated “our partnership.” Together they would shape a life of purpose not just for their own family, but for every community of which they were a part. After being ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1948, he spent a year at Cambridge and joined the Scottish Iona Community. It was through this experience that he was called to facilitate work in peace and justice. He and his family moved to East Lansing in 1962 in order for him to work as an MSU campus minister. There he would become a civil rights activist and leader at both the community and national level. During his time at MSU, from 1962-1982, John strengthened services for nontraditional students, pursued fair housing in East Lansing for non-white residents, pioneered the national service-learning movement, and developed and led the Student Tutorial Education Program (STEP) from 1965-1968, engaging over 100 students and faculty volunteers to prepare students at Rust College, an all-black Mississippi school, for academic success and to support the school's full accreditation. Following his time at MSU, John's commitment to equity continued. In 1982, the Michigan Peace and Justice Network was established due to his and Betty’s petitions. In 1989, they founded the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition. In 2001, he created the Closing the Digital Gap program. In 2005, Edgewood Village was formed and later the Edgewood Scholars Program and MSU partnership expanded. This work was not done in isolation. John was a leader who never did the work alone; he built coalitions and facilitated community change with and not for. He lived his life on the margins of the institutions with which he worked. Spearheading change from within while pursuing justice for all was his true calling. The world and our communities are better because of his life. It is our job now to keep his legacy and vision alive. Left to honor John’s legacy are his daughter, Judith Gardi; son, Peter Duley; and son-in-law, Chuck Wolterink as well as his grandchildren: Elizabeth and Daniel Wolterink, Hannah Gardi, Gavin Mbatha, Mac Ngobese, and Nick and Ryan Duley. John was preceded in death by Betty (2010), his daughter Kathy (2007), his daughter-in-law Joyce (2018), and his son John (2020). A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 11 am at Presbyterian Church of Okemos, 2258 Bennett Rd, Okemos, MI, 48864. Please find a link to Rev. John Duley's funeral on the Presbyterian Church of Okemos' YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc4_trQjPC0 In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in John’s name to Edgewood Village.
November 15, 1920 - July 15, 202111/15/192007/15/2021
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Obituary for John S. Duley in Laingsburg, Michigan

John S. Duley, age 100, died peacefully on Thursday, July 15, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. From his birth in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 15, 1920 through his final days, John was a champion for progressive social justice. Though his original plan was to be a farmer, he used his life to cultivate spiritual and community well-being. In his early 20s, he met Marian (Betty) while working as a youth leader for the Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio. Though their relationship was blossomin...

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Events

Jul
24
Celebration of Life
Saturday, July 24 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Presbyterian Church of Okemos
2258 Bennett Road
Okemos, Michigan 48864
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Memorial Contributions

Edgewood Village
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