John Duefrane, USCS #7947
John was born on May 10, 1943 in the city of Milford, Connecticut, only about 60 miles from New York City. Like most of us his first interests were in collecting stamps, as his father did, when he was about 12 years old. He actually developed an interest in naval covers at that early age when he discovered a few in his father’s collection.
He went on to graduate from Milford High School in 1964 and his first paying job was as a butcher. Shortly after that he worked for the Milford Road Department for one year until he became a member of the Milford Fire Department.
In the time period from 1967-1968 he had 1½ years of active duty and was aboard the USS NOA in the Mediterranean. He saw many of the ports on the Mediterranean Sea while on active duty, being in charge of fire supplies maintenance and damage aboard the ship due to his previous fire service experience.
The fire service was his first love as he had been a volunteer firefighter even before he graduated from high school. Other than his time as an active reservist in the U.S. Navy, John followed this career up until he retired in 1989. At that time he was number nine in seniority out of 110 firefighters and was a senior pump engineer in the Milford Fire Department.
Following retirement John headed to Columbia Falls, Montana, a place that had attracted him on his earlier hunting trips to the area. It was here that he helped establish the U.S.C.S. USS Glacier Chapter #102, which is no longer active. He was also active in the Garden City Stamp Club in Missoula and the Kalispell Stamp Club in Kalispell. During this time that he was active in developing cachets for the Big Mountain 50th Anniversary and the 100th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad.
In 2005 John moved to University Place in the State of Washington to be near his sons and grandchildren. In the Puget Sound area of Washington he found there was more naval activity than in Montana. He then set about displaying his naval covers in malls and at the Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport. He later became a volunteer there and has logged in about 4,000 hours in the last five years cataloging their naval cover collections. He has also been active in helping launch the USS Columbia #106 Chapter of the USCS; as well as coordinating events to commemorate changes of command, and boat anniversaries at Bangor and the Naval Undersea Museum. John presently lives in Port Orchard, Washington.
John has attended two National USCS conventions and in 2010 he earned the York Briddell Award, named for the founder of the USCS, for excellence in leadership in organizational work, recruiting and promotion.
The collection John has amassed since he started collecting naval covers at about 13 has now reached about 14,000 naval covers. He likes to service ships, tugs and bird class covers, with the emphasis on cachets. Other than that if it floats or travels underwater, he collects it. He is attempting to have representation in his collection from all classes of ships, but that is one goal that he has not quite achieved yet.
By Don Tjossem (#L-10,987), October 2012