Donald Duft

January 23, 1921January 20, 2013

A dedicated attorney with a great sense of humor, Don Duft will be remembered for the keen wit and zest for life that he has shown others in the years this world was blessed to have him here. He passed Sunday, January 20, 2013 at age 91. Born in Waddams Grove, Illinois January 23, 1921, to Walter and Ruth Duft, Don was one of three children growing up in a depression- and prohibition-era family. He attended Vanderbilt University and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a radio engineer, after which he received his Electrical Engineering degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He also received a Juris Doctor degree, an LLB (cum laude), and an LLM (masters in trade regulation) from New York University Law School. He was a registered patent attorney with over 50 years of patent law experience, specializing in world-wide patent prosecution and technology agreements, and copyright, trademark and trade secret matters. With his wife Donna Duft, he had three children and settled in Summit, NJ in 1954, to begin his practice as a patent attorney with Bell Telephone Laboratories. Don was widowed in 1982. He later married D’Ann James in Boulder in 1983. Don moved his family to Boulder in 1971 and was formerly the Manager of Intellectual Property Matters at AT&T/Bell Laboratories at its facility in Broomfield. During his career with AT&T/Bell Labs, Don successfully prosecuted pioneering patents on such critical technologies as computers, memories, transistors, intelligent networks, and Internet systems. Don served also as an Examiner at the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office and is an inventor with two issued U. S. patents. Don’s nature was expressed with his involvement with numerous activities. He dearly loved traveling with D’Ann, skiing, mountain climbing in Colorado and around the world, and avidly supported his Colorado Buffaloes and Denver Bronco football teams. He was fun to be around! He loved tinkering with electronics and cars, and built our first color TV. Don is survived by his wife D’Ann; sons Walter Duft of Buffalo, NY and Bradford Duft of San Diego, CA; six grandchildren, Brandon Duft, Andrew Duft, Kelly Duft, Lauren Duft, Kathryn Duft and Emily Duft; one great-grandchild Lyla Grace Duft; and numerous step-children, step-grandchildren and step great-grandchildren from the James side of the family! His family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Boulder Community Hospital for their help after Don took ill in December 2011. Our husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather will leave a void in our lives and our sadness of his death is tempered by the joy that he will be reuniting with his loved ones. Crist Mortuary 3395 Penrose Place, Boulder, CO, 80301 is serving the family. A memorial service will take place Friday, January 25, 2013, at 2 p.m. in the chapel of the First Presbyterian Church in Boulder by Associate Minister John Hess. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made in his name to the University of Colorado Foundation. Condolences may be shared at


  • Memorial Service Friday, January 25, 2013

Donald Duft

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Walter and Biz Duft

January 10, 2017

As the 4th year approaches that we live without your physical being we know one thing, you have not left our hearts We feel you with us, especially in Boulder. So much has happened that we know you are present. Watching over, making things happen, and guiding us. I thank you for every single sign we receive. We feel your love and are so grateful for our awareness. I know you feel our love too. We miss you. xo

Walter and Biz Lauren and Emily

January 21, 2014

One year ago you left. You didn't leave us though. We feel your guidance and love every day. We will carry on in a way that makes you proud. We love you Don.

Biz & Walter Duft

February 18, 2013

We miss you Don but we know you are okay. Continue to watch over all of us. We love you.

Chuck and Sherry Brinkmann

February 2, 2013

To our long standing friends, Walter and Brad, Our sincerest condolensces, and
Don truly was blessed to have a long and successful career doing what he loved. As Walter said in the eulogy, "Don's bark" was worse than his bite...but when you are 5 or 6 years old, the "bark" was loud. Rest in peace, Don.

Dana Duft

January 26, 2013

We were saddened to hear the news about your Dad. I hadn't seen him in many years, but still enjoy the stories my Dad shares about their time together. He was a wonderful man and I know he will be missed by so many.
Dana and Paige Duft

Patrick Palkowski

January 26, 2013

To the Duft families: I'm extremely sorry for your loss. You may have lost the figure but you haven't lost the man. He continues to live through your stories and memories, so don't hesitate to share. Much love to you all.

Diana Royce Smith

January 26, 2013

The Boulder Rotary Club send its deepest sympathy and condolences to Don's wonderful family. We were prepared to help him celebrate his birthday at today's meeting, when instead we learned of his passing. What a productive, interesting and resilient life he led! We are privileged to have had him as a member of the club.

Ward Duft

January 25, 2013

Sorry to hear of his passing. Though I haven't seen him in years, I always remember a composed, wise man with a twinkle in his eye. And I know my dad thought the world of him.

Sean Varley

January 25, 2013

Don, you were a great friend to me over the years. I'll miss our weekly lunches where we chomped our way across the cuisine of Boulder. Of course, everyone knows that the soup and salad special at the olive garden is really the best of them all.

This picture in particular was a fun day -- out at a Rockies game. The weather was spectacular, and we had great seats behind first base (out of the sun of course). We drank beer and ate foods that D'Ann would not approve of, though my guess is that you spilled the beans the second I dropped you off at home. Such was your passion and love for D'Ann. You wanted her to be a part of your day even though she was not there.

I will miss you.


January 25, 2013

Grandpa you were such an amazing and accomplished man. You truly were an inspiration and a role model. I am going to miss you and your funny stories. I love you Grandpa, you will stay in my heart.