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Cunard mourns John Duffy, longest serving four-stripe officer

John Duffy welcomes Queen Elizabeth II on her namesake ship, QE2, in 1990, Cunard's 150th anniversary
John Duffy, Cunard's veteran hotel manager and the line's longest serving four-stripe officer, died Tuesday. He was 73.

His passing came as Queen Elizabeth sailed into Duffy's home city—and Cunard's spiritual home—at Liverpool yesterday.

Widely regarded by guests and respected by colleagues, Duffy gave 47 years of loyal service to Cunard until his retirement five years ago.

Queen Elizabeth’s whistle sounded for 47 seconds as she sailed from the city Tuesday night.

Flags at Cunard’s UK headquarters at Carnival House in Southampton were scheduled to be lowered Wednesday.

Duffy served as hotel manager on the two most famous ocean liners in the world—Queen Elizabeth 2 and her successor on the North Atlantic, Queen Mary 2.

He joined Cunard in 1965, posted first to Queen Elizabeth and subsequently to Carinthia on the Liverpool to Montréal route. Other ships he served include Carmania, Franconia, Cunard Adventurer, Cunard Ambassador and Cunard Princess.

In 1978 he became the company's youngest hotel manager when, at the age of 33, he was appointed on Cunard Princess. In April 1981 became QE2's youngest hotel manager—a post he remained in longer than any other.

A winner of the Seatrade Seagoing Employee of the Year Award in 2009, he was also presented with the Merchant Navy Medal for long and distinguished service.

Aboard QE2 he welcomed heads of state and political leaders as well as countless stars of stage and screen, together with tens of thousands of other Cunard guests.

His attention to detail in ensuring the needs and expectations of all guests were exceeded is legendary.

A spokesman for Cunard in Southampton said the news of Duffy's death was recevied with great sadness, adding: 'Our thoughts and condolences go out to his wife, son, family and colleagues at this sad time.'

Duffy is survived by his wife Marie and their son Johnny.