Doris Durst

Obituary of Doris Durst

Doris Woodward Durst of Woodstock, age 99, born in Pullman, WA, passed into the hands of her Lord on Monday, October 8, 2018. Three of her sons were with her. Her family: Jay and Joann, Wayne (Woody) and Dotti, John Alan and Chris, Kate and Steven Hunt, and Jeff and Jane. She was pre-deceased by her husband, John Hudson Durst and by her daughter, DoriaDanowski.

Doris and John Hudson Durst met as classmates in the Agriculture Program at UCONN and married on December 27, 1940, having graduated in June. The wedding was at her parents’ Grassland Farm in Salisbury. 

Doris and John had a large family. In addition to the sons and daughter, she has grandchildren: Gretchen and Scott Provost, Jerry and Deanna Durst, Allison and Christopher Britt, Erin and Reid Hayden, Jessica Danowski, Matthew and Heather Hunt, Sierra Hunt, Zachary and Emily Durst, and Laura and Keith Morin, in addition to several great-grandchildren.

The necessity of providing food to the troops during World War II brought attention to Doris, who was featured in magazine articles such as Mademoiselle, as a young woman active in farming who was helping the cause on the home front.

John and his brother Gus took over a nearby Salisbury farm called Hilltop. John and Doris lived there; it is where their first two children were born, Jay and Wayne (Woody).

She and John then enjoyed raising dairy cattle just across the border in New York on Sheffield Hill Rd in Amenia, NY.  This 420 acre farm was named Quanqual Farm (Quantity and Quality) where they had a Guernsey herd and produced Golden Guernsey milk, a premium product at that time. John and Doris expanded their family, with John Allan, Doria and Kate all born in western Connecticut. Following the passing of Doris’ parents, John and Doris remained in agriculture; in time, John returned to UCONN to obtain his teaching Certification in Agriculture, after which the family moved to a small Woodstock farm on Center Road, where they had one more child, Jeff.

Doris always exhibited an exuberance with and involvement in life. She was active throughout her life in her church, first as a Christian Scientist then, after moving to Woodstock, in the East Woodstock Congregational Church as well the Woodstock HillCongregational Church. The Ornament-Making Group was a special favorite church-related activity.  The Concert Choir of Northeastern  Connecticut drew Doris in, music having been part of her life since childhood.

Entries in the Woodstock Fair and community service were part of her joy in her life.

Doris’ parents, Edwin Garver Woodward (the firstDean of Agriculture at the UCONN Radcliffe-Hicks School of Agriculture) and mother Lucille Mathews Woodward (who was elected to the Connecticut Legislature representing Salisbury from 1939-1940, where another representative was Gus Durst - father of Doris’ husband-to-be, John) both passed away in the Hartford Circus fire of July 1944, along with their grandson by daughter Ruth. The lasting sorrow of this event was with her during her entire adult life.

Woodstock Academy became John’s teaching post as he began his new career in the fall of 1957. At theAcademy, Doris served in several capacities. “Doris’s Deli” had significant impact on the culture of WA.  It was a common hangout for students and teachers, often at the same time, and seemed to present “neutral ground.”  She impacted many students over the years.

More than one person in town has commented about how “Mom” was always whistling when she came into stores or the Post Office; she was said to do her best thinking when she was whistling. She loved to sew, play piano/organ, sing, read, do crossword puzzles and drive her car.

If Doris were able to communicate in the moments before her passing, it would have been her sense of adventure and joy that would have prompted her to proclaim “we’re off!”  which is how her positive outlook always manifested  itself.

Donations in the memory of Doris may be made to the Woodstock Academy Center for the Arts/Music Program.

Burial will be private but a Celebration of the Life of Doris Durst will be Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 11:00 AM at the East Woodstock Congregational Church, 220 Woodstock Road, East Woodstock, CT. Share a memory at

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