Helen Lorenda (Congdon) Durfee, 97, of Rutland, VT passed away at the Rutland Regional Medical Center on Monday, June 6, 2011, with her daughters at her side. The daughter of Hugh Horace and Julia Agnes (Johnson) Congdon, she was born in Clarendon, VT, July 10, 1913, in the brick farmhouse that was purchased by her great-grandfather in 1857.
Helen grew up in Clarendon and attended the one-room school in Clarendon Flats, graduating from the eighth grade in 1926. She attended the Meldon School in Rutland and graduated as salutatorian of the Class of 1930 from the "new" Rutland High School on Library Avenue.
Helen's first job was as a bookkeeper at the Ross-Huntress Co. Department Store in Rutland, securing a ride to town each day on the early morning milk truck that left Clarendon at 5:45 a.m. She later worked as a bookkeeper at the Patch-Wegner Co., earning $6 per week.
In 1934, she met and married Lester Alton Durfee, an engineer with the Civilian Conservation Corps and together they moved to Shrewsbury, Northfield, Weston and Danby when Lester was assigned to different camps. While in Weston, they lived in the building that is now the Vermont Country Store and were lifelong friends of its founders, Vrest and Mildred Orton.
The family grew to include two daughters, Linda and Lorine, and eventually moved to Mattapoisett, MA. Lester passed away in 1957, and Helen continued to live in Mattapoisett, working as a bookkeeper for George E. Eldridge, Inc. and later for the New Bedford law firm of Abamson, Titus and Levenson, from which she retired in 1978. She was a member of the Mattapoisett Congregational Church where she served as a deaconess, treasurer and later as auditor. She was also a member of the church's Woman's Guild, the Mattapoisett Woman's Club and the Mattapoisett Historical Society.
Helen was a voracious reader, a world traveler, and a friend to everyone she met. Her love of family was instilled in all of her progeny and she will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Survivors include her daughters, Linda Dean (Sheldon) of Glen Mills, PA and Mattapoisett, MA and Lorine Hagar of Rutland; a brother, Edward Congdon (Dorothy) and sister-in-law Gladys Congdon of Clarendon; grandchildren: John (Kathy) Romano of Wallingford, VT, Sheldon Dean (Valerie) of Jackson, NJ: William Dean (Barbara) of Boyertown, PA; David (Melissa), Lori, and Dean Romano of Rutland; Cynthia (Daniel) Spalding of Glen Mills, PA; Jesse (Carolyn) Hagar of Alston, MA and Heidi (Justin) Lynaugh of Lyndonville, VT. She is also survived by great-grandchildren James and Ryan Spalding; William, Tyler and Walter Dean; Joseph, Tess, Matthew, Sara, Dominic and Leah Romano; Alex and Lily Lynaugh; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents, a sister Ella Congdon Purple, and brothers Leland and Hugh Congdon.
A Celebration of Life will be held in the community room at Maples, 5 General Wing Road, Rutland, at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18. An ice cream social for family and friends in the Maples dining room will follow the service. Guests are asked to enter Maples by the rear door in the lower level.
Burial of Helen's ashes will be at the East Clarendon Cemetery and also in the Pine Island Cemetery, Mattapoisett, MA.
Contributions may be made in lieu of flowers to Bridges and Beyond, c/o RRMC, Social Work Dept., Rutland, VT, 05701 or to the Friends of the Mattapoisett Library, P.O. Box 1146, Mattapoisett, MA 02739.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Tossing Funeral Home of Rutland.
Published in Rutland Herald from June 8 to June 11, 2011
Lester Alton Durfee
unknown–1957 (m. 1934)
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