August Henry Duda, Jr., (Gus) passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 in Elijay, Georgia.
Bud, as he was known to his family, was the son of August Henry and Llva Garrigus Duda and the younger brother of Helyn Jene (Duda) Coe. He was born on May 24, 1920 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1927 his family moved to Toledo, Ohio. He was educated there (DeVilbiss High School and University of Michigan). Gus was a World War II veteran, serving from 1940-45 in the US Army Air Forces, in the US and the Southwest Pacific. He began as an airplane engine mechanic trainee serving three years as crew chief, before being accepted for the Flying Sergeants Program, graduating as a flight officer. Upon separation from the USAAF he returned to the University of Toledo for his diploma.
In 1951, Gus was recruited by the newly formed Air Force Association (AFA) in Washington, D.C. as Organization Director and then Program Director, which began his long career in the Hospitality industry. He then moved his family to Alexandria, Virginia from Toledo Ohio. In his role with AFA, Gus was instrumental in establishing support for the newly-formed Air Force Academy and its first graduating class of 1959.
Gus left AFA in 1970 to open the first Washington “satellite” office for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association. He then accepted an appointment at the US Department of Commerce as a Foreign Trade Specialist, planning and marketing trade shows for US firms in foreign countries. His own firm, The Duda Group, a multiple management firm in the hospitality industry of associations, hotels, convention bureaus and allied firms seeking to serve association conventions, was formed at this time. At one point his firm served as the headquarters staff of one association, and planned and managed the meetings of seven additional organizations.
In 1983, in collaboration with Jim Carter, then the Eastern Regional Manager for the Los Angeles Convention Bureau, he established the DC Invitational, the first national golf tournament for the hospitality industry, attracting over three hundred participants. In the twenty one years that followed, the event contributed $135,000.00 to various charitable organizations. In 2003, Gus presented the tournament to GWSAE (Greater Washington Society of Association Executives), as a gift to the Association community.
Gus was married on Thanksgiving day,1943 to Betty Jane McCully (Duda). After 30 years, they were divorced. Betty passed away on November 19, 2007. His second wife from whom he is divorced, Christina Richardson, lives in Elijay, Georgia. Gus is survived by his two daughters, Bari Jene Duda of Alexandria, and Wendy Beth (married to Bruce) Sheaffer, of Springfield, Virginia, six granddaughters and fifteen great-grandchildren, all living in Northern Virginia.
Funeral arrangements are being handled through Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home in Alexandria, Va. Gus will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
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