The Duffy Jug
The Duffy Jug
According to Tony Shaughnessy, long-time Jackson Catholic Schools teacher and administrator, the “Duffy Jug ” traces its history back to the World War II era here in Jackson. Joseph Tomshack was a coach at St. John High School when Fr. Duffy was Pastor there. He and Fr. Duffy were exploring the attic of one of the parish buildings, either the church or the school, when they came across an empty jug. Fr. Duffy told Joe to take it with them. It sat around the parish for a while until it was decided to use it as a “trophy” for the winner of the annual St. John / St. Mary football game. It was named the Duffy Jug in honor of Fr. Duffy. In the 1968 Yearbook, there is a page entitled “The History of the Church Is the History of the School”. On that page it states: “Fr. John Duffy came to serve our school in 1942 and renewed the annual St. John-St. Mary’s game with the prized Duffy Jug going to the victors”.
Tony’s father, John Shaughnessy, was active in the athletic boosters for St. John. John told Tony that the athletic program was struggling in those post-depression era years. When Fr. Duffy came as pastor of St. John, he was a very active supporter of the athletic program. John said they would tell Fr. Duffy that there wasn’t funding for athletic equipment, and Fr. Duffy would tell them to get what was necessary and the funds would be found somehow.
The Duffy Jug represented many things to many of the members of the Catholic community of Jackson. St. John and St. Mary were the two parishes that had high schools. The other parishes had elementary schools that went to the eighth grade. So for many years the populations of St. John and St. Mary High Schools contained a percentage of students who would graduate as twelve year students of their respective parish schools, along with other students who would spend their four years of high school together. So many of the students at St. John and St. Mary knew each other because they had gone to school together at other schools for eight years previous to high school. The annual football game brought most of the Catholic community together (albeit on opposite sides of the field of competition) for one evening in November. The game was usually preceded with a week of bonfires, parades, and pep rallies at both schools leading up to the big game. The attendance at the game was representative of the current student populations of the schools as well as alumni and friends from years past.