With her loving husband David by her side, Linda Dufault, a dynamic personality with a big heart to match, passed away on September 11, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida, from a short battle with pancreatic cancer. A resident of nearby St. Augustine, with a summer home in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, she was 77 years old, and didn’t waste a minute.
Linda was the first to appreciate her good fortune: a family as devoted to her as she was to them, countless friendships she was careful to cultivate, a love of merriment in general and music in particular, a legendary talent for quilt making, and a slice of paradise on a mountaintop in the tiny town of Mt. Washington, Massachusetts.
There, in the rambling summer home of her childhood, Linda would hold forth, cooking an impromptu dinner for a sudden guest or a feast for an expected crowd (with David making cocktails and roasting the occasional pig) as the sun set over the Taconics — an evening at ‘Swallowfield” was a memorable experience. And she was always up and at it the next day, ready to drive down the mountain for a round of bridge at the senior center or a round of drinks at her beloved Old Mill.
Linda Irene Ney was born on January 19, 1943, in Queens, New York, the youngest of three daughters of Charles and Ruth Ney. She grew up in the Forest Hills section of Queens and attended Kew Forest High School, later graduating from Green Mountain College in Vermont in 1961. Two years later, Linda married the love of her life, David Dufault.
In addition to raising three children and countless pets, Linda worked as a business manager for various companies over the years and capped her career at the Berkshire Choral Institute, later the Berkshire Choral Festival (today known as Berkshire Choral International). Few would argue that Linda was the heart and soul of the organization: she adored the staff, faculty and music, and she remembered by name hundreds of returning singers whose first stop in Sheffield was to give the business manager Linda a big hug. For years after she retired, Linda would never miss a Saturday rehearsal. She was also sure to attend concerts at nearby Tanglewood and, during the winter, frequently volunteered at the Jacksonville Symphony.
Linda loved the natural beauty and community of Mt. Washington. Every August, she participated in the annual Church Fair there, working with her friends, neighbors, and sister Kathleen to craft the town’s famous handmade quilts. Many friends and family members cherish one of Linda’s original braided wool rugs or beautiful quilts.
Besides her husband of 57 years, Linda is survived by their three grown children Denise Dufault of Great Barrington, Christie Dufault (Jordan Mackay) of Napa Valley, California, and David Dufault Jr. of Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and beloved grandchildren Megan, Justin, and Lindsey. Linda is also survived by her sisters Carolyn Soenksen and Kathleen Brunner (Thomas). She also leaves her much-loved cat Sweetie.
A celebration of Linda’s life will be held on Mount Washington on June 27 at 1 p.m. at the field across from the cemetery. A reception will follow at Swallowfield. In the meantime, here’s looking at you, Linda. Rest in peace.