By KATHY CHANG
METUCHEN — Former Board of Education member Eileen Duffy, who passed away on Jan. 11, will be missed.
“We lost a great member of our community,” said board member Ben Small as he reminisced about Duffy at the Jan. 26 board meeting. “I was fortunate to have her as a neighbor for a couple of years and as a mentor when I came on the board.”
Duffy served on the board from 2005 to 2008; however, her service to the Metuchen School District and the community goes back to when she moved into the town in 1996.
“As soon as she arrived, she followed the Board of Education,” said friend and former board member Rose de Vries.
She said in 2000, Duffy joined the Metuchen Education Foundation and developed and sponsored the annual science fair held at Edgar Middle School and Campbell Elementary School.
Duffy campaigned for the three referendums that were held in 1997, 1999, and 2005 for all four school buildings in the district, which at the time were in dire need of modernization.
“Eileen campaigned for all of them,” said de Vries, adding that Duffy decided to run for a board seat after she observed that the referendum in 2005 did not include new science labs at the high school. “Eileen felt the [athletic] fields were put before the necessary maintenance and modernization in the high school building.”
De Vries said Duffy was before her time when she sat on the board.
“She wanted the board to purchase and have every student use a new software system called ImPACT Testing Program,” she said
The software ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), which is a computerized concussion evaluation system, is now implemented in the district, de Vries said.
Small said Duffy always had a smile on her face. “She was smart, there was a good way about her, she was caring and gave so much to the community over years,” he said.
De Vries said Duffy and her husband Mike Hampsey were also involved in their three children’s extracurricular activities.
Board President Jonathan Lifton said he did not know Duffy well, but it was clear by the people who knew her that she was loved and that she made major contributions to the borough and school district.
Duffy died on Jan. 11 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Since 2001, she was employed as a clinical research pharmacist at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University. Throughout her life, Eileen was an active member of her community. She coached soccer, Little League baseball and softball, and served as treasurer of the Metuchen High School Band Parents’ Association.
Duffy is survived by her husband of 30 years, Mike Hampsey; their three children, Molly, of New Orleans, Claire and Jim (as well as her Emma-girl) of Metuchen; her mother, Patricia Paetow of Sewell; two sisters, Patty Anne Cunningham (Tom) of Memphis and Kate Duffy (David Crawford) of Medford. Eileen was predeceased by her beloved brother Ed Duffy (Bettyann) of Fairfax, Virginia.