Luke Hemingway Duffy
Beloved son, brother, nephew, cousin, friend, lover, listener, laugher, truth seeker, guitar-playin’ & songwritin’ rock & roller, board gamer, art creator, mountain climber, empathizer, Aerosmither, globe trotter, hand holder, animal lover, goofball, kitchen wizard, gentle redhead, and the light of our lives.
These words weave a story, the life of a man, a beautiful soul. But they fall well short of capturing the essence of Luke and the radiant being that he was and continues to be. He is the pulse coursing through the hearts of everyone who knew him, alive and apparent in the beauty that surrounds us. He is love.
Luke’s love for animals and his bond with them was special. A lifelong dog owner, Luke rescued two neighborhood cats after they were abandoned, despite the fact that he was on the precipice of a cross-country journey to find a home to call his own. The fact that he had no previous experience handling cats did not deter him from being the best care giver he could be. Undaunted by poor timing, Luke crisscrossed the states with Shuggie and Bronski, who quickly became his constant and closest companions.
Soon after settling in The City of Angels, Luke and some of his best friends moved in together. Their home was lovingly coined “The Animal House” because of their mixed brood of two dogs and five cats. A new neighbor moved in across the street, and that’s when Luke discovered the love of his life, Sasha. With both her and her dog Jackson added to mix, the pack was complete. Whether a resident or guest of The Animal House, one could expect to be showered with affection upon walking through the door, by two and four-legged friends alike.
When Sasha surprised Luke with a visit to Wolf Connection, his enthusiasm was pure and palpable. As they rode up to the property, he noticed the sign out front announcing Wolf Connection in big letters, and exclaimed, “No way!” They approached the entrance gate just as it was being locked (in the nick of time) and raised their fists in the air, greeted by the incredible staff and their excited cheers of solidarity.
Luke and Sasha’s experience connecting with the wolves and accompanying staff on that April 23, 2017 group hike was one that would continue to deepen their love. That the wolves took immediately to Luke wasn’t surprising; it was a recognition of kindred spirits, another bond of love. The stories about the wolves and the lessons they’d learned from their own pasts greatly inspired Sasha and Luke to return and ultimately share this experience with their family and friends. And this eventually happened, though in a way no one could’ve anticipated. Luke’s loved ones gathered together at Wolf Connection on June 18, 2017 for a transcendent experience that combined celebrating Luke and our love for him with a wealth of invaluable lessons to guide us through an incredibly challenging time. It was a day our family will never forget.
To lose the physical presence of Luke, who continues to impact the many lives he touches, is something none of us imagined we would have to do so soon. It’s also something that none of us, his family, friends and even those who only shared a brief moment with Luke, thought we could do. However, it is because of Luke and all of the love surrounding him that we can withstand the pain of loss and even recognize and celebrate the many gifts he left us. Gifts we will continue to discover and gratefully unwrap for the rest of time. Wolf Connection has been one of those gifts.
Luke felt at home connecting with the wolves, effortlessly showing them endless love and support. That’s why it was immediately clear to our family that, in lieu of flowers, inquiring loved ones could direct any donations to Wolf Connection in order to continue supporting Luke’s passion for animals. More specifically, these donations will sponsor a wolf named Kenai in Luke’s name and honor. Kenai is a shy wolf currently in training who had an especially powerful interaction with Luke, a meaningful moment of trust and respect between two souls.
Luke applauded what Wolf Connection stands for in the world and looked forward to staying involved with the organization. It brings us great joy to be able to fulfill his wish. Luke’s sponsorship helps feed, care for, and keep Kenai healthy, so this beautiful creature can live a long life and continue to enlighten future visitors about patience, nurturing and the intangible wisdom only Kenai can provide. These lessons will have far-reaching reverberations of love…the perfect celebration of our own love Luke Hemingway Duffy.
August 6, 1985 – June 2, 2017 (and beyond)