Date of BirthDecember 30, 1925

Horton Keith Durfee Obituary

Date of BirthDecember 30, 1925

464 Views

Date of DeathMay 20, 2017

Horton Keith Durfee Obituary

from charlotte, New York, United States

Durfee, Horton KeithHorton Keith Durfee, 91, of Ithaca, formerly of New Lebanon and Troy, NY, died on May 20, 2017. He was born on December 30, 1925 in Geneva NY, the son of Dr. Walter H. Durfee and Mabel K. Durfee. He is survived by his wife, Shirley Morgan Durfee, his children: Linda (Paul) of Morgantown, WV; David (Melanie) of Shaftsbury, VT; Stephen (Jill) of Napa, CA; and Paul of Charlotte, NC; stepchildren: Stephanie Hill of Minonk, Il, and Christopher Kiepper of Bennington, VT; thirteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. His first wife, Jean Blaney Durfee, died tragically in a head-on car crash in 1988. Horton graduated from Hobart College in 1949, was employed by the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, and received a master's degree from Cornell University. He taught science at Taft School, Waterbury, CT, and Darrow School, New Lebanon, NY, where he also coached several sports, and launched the school's first lacrosse program. He later taught at Berkshire Community College and the Emma Willard School.During World War II, Horton joined the ski troops of the 10th Mountain Army Division and took part in the Italian campaign in the Apennine Mountains. It was there on March 3, 1945 that he was badly wounded by shrapnel in his back and right leg, and spent the following fourteen months recovering at Halloran Hospital on Staten Island. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Horton read widely and was particularly interested in the natural sciences, local history, and classical music. He played the flute and, blessed with a lyrical tenor voice, attended the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood as a student, and later sang with several oratorio choirs as an adult. He appeared on stage in numerous performances of the Berkshire Public Theatre and the Town Players of Pittsfield, also serving that organization in various roles as a board member. He later volunteered as an ambulance driver with the Lebanon Valley Protective Association.An avid train and model railroad enthusiast, he was a member of the Berkshire Model Railroad Club and the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society. He was an inveterate tinkerer and early environmentalist who built his own solar water heater, tended two back-yard vegetable gardens, and raised bees.Horton was honored by Darrow School on his 70th reunion for his lifelong commitment to the school as an alumnus, faculty member, parent, grandparent, and their first lacrosse coach.Horton and Shirley moved from Troy, NY to retirement at Kendal at Ithaca in 1998. Horton continued to play the flute, read, travel, and enjoy Metropolitan operas. He learned to make and bottle wine from the local grapes, and was a leader and participant in several Kendal organizations, including History, Writers, and Woodshop.He remained an active member of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, regularly attending Central NY chapter meetings, national reunions and several tours to Italy. Throughout his life he was a member of the Episcopal Church. Those wishing to remember Horton's life are encouraged to make a donation to Darrow School, New Lebanon, NY; Durfee Scholarship Hobart College, Geneva, NY; St. John's Church, Ithaca, NY. A memorial service will be held on July 6, at 11:00 AM, at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ithaca; with a reception at Kendal, at 1:00 PM. Online condolences may be left at hersonwagnerfuneralhome.com