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Jean Marie Druffner

Woodland Valley-

Jean Marie Druffner, a pillar of her community, passed away peacefully on March 5, 2024, in New Paltz, New York. Born on April 27, 1946, in Avoca, Pennsylvania, Jean's life was a testament to her faith-filled spirit, gentle heart, and creative mind. Her 77 years were marked by dedication to education, environmental stewardship, and the simple joys of life.


Jean's formative years in Avoca laid the foundation for a life of service and learning. After graduating from Marywood Seminary High School in Scranton, PA, in 1963, she continued her education at the College of Mt. Vincent in Riverdale, NY, earning a BA in History and Elementary Education in 1967. Her commitment to education led her to further her studies, obtaining a MS in Education with an emphasis in Outdoor Education from SUNY Cortland, NY, in 1971, and a MA in Philosophy and Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA.


In 1968, Jean moved to the Catskill Mountains of New York State, where she became an integral part of the community. She taught in Oklahoma City for a year before dedicating 28 years to the students at Phoenicia Elementary School. Her passion for the natural world was evident in her role as a co-leader of wilderness trips for the Frost Valley Environmental Center, including a bicycle trip for the blind, and as assistant program director at the Ashokan Field Campus. Jean's adventurous spirit also led her to guide a marine and river field study trip to Belize for the Explorer Scout Troop 60.  She was the recipient of the National PTA Jenkin's Award.


Jean's work extended beyond the classroom as she served on the Board of Directors at the John Burroughs Woodchuck Lodge, advocating for the protection of the Catskill Mountains' environment, public health, and natural resources. As a member of the Onteora Teachers Association and an active participant in St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church in Phoenicia, she embodied the values of community and faith.


Her interests were as varied as they were deep. Jean volunteered at the Linwood Spiritual Center in Rhinebeck, NY, and was a trained Wilderness First Aid Responder. An avid cyclist, kayaker, and cross-country skier, she embraced the great outdoors with enthusiasm. Jean's love for storytelling shone through at annual Catskill Mountain Christmas events, PTA programs, Church gatherings, and Festival of the Voice events, where her tales captivated and inspired.


Jean is predeceased by her parents, Dr. Lewis C. and Cecilia Hilsher Druffner, Sr., and her brother, Dr. Lewis C. Druffner, Jr. Her legacy continues through her loving family: brother, Dr. Charles Druffner of Clark Summit, PA; sisters, Suzanne Druffner of Exeter, PA, and Kathryn (Jack) Fedigan of Reston, VA; along with her cherished 14 nieces and nephews and numerous great and great-great nieces and nephews.


Jean's desire was to be remembered for her ability to treasure life's simple pleasures and for empowering others to appreciate and protect the natural world. She was a voice for the environment, often choosing to listen rather than speak, and through her actions, she inspired many to become stewards of the earth. Jean aspired to improve her guitar skills and storytelling craft, and to share her understanding of Christianity in a way that would bring peace to the world.


Jean Marie Druffner lived a life rich in experiences, relationships, and accomplishments. Her gentle presence and creative spirit will be deeply missed by all who knew her, yet her influence will continue to ripple through the lives she touched and the natural landscapes she so dearly loved.

 

A mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday March 15th at 10:00am at Queen Of The Apostles Parish Church, 715 Hawthorne St.  Avoca, with F. Phillip Sladicka officiating the mass.  Family and friends may call for visitation on Friday morning March 15th from 9am until time of mass.  Interment will be held at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow.


Arrangements are made by Kiesinger Funeral Services, Inc., 255 McAlpine St., Duryea. A mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday March 15th at 10:00am at Queen of the Apostles Parish Church, 715 Hawthorne St., Avoca, with F. Phillip Sladicka officiating the mass.  Family and friends may call for visitation on Friday morning March 15th from 9am until time of mass.  Interment will be held at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow.


At Jean’s request, it is suggested that folks plant flowers and trees or donate to your favorite environmental organization.


Arrangements are made by Kiesinger Funeral Services, Inc., 255 McAlpine St., Duryea.


 

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1 Comment


shelbyv1414
Mar 10

Suzanne, I an so sorry to hear of the loss of your sister. What an inspiring, beautiful legacy she leaves behind. Take comfort in knowing what a wonderful sister you have been and cherish the happy memories you have made with her. With sympathy, Suzie Verespey

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