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Helen duMont

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WILMINGTON -- Helen (Kuepp) duMont of Wilmington, 78, died peacefully at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center on Monday, Feb. 27, 2006, following a long illness.

Born Helen Martha Kuepp on July 24, 1927, in New York City, she received a bachelor of arts degree in 1951 from Queens College, N.Y., where she met Kingsley A. duMont. They were married shortly thereafter and had three children, Ruth, David and Andrea, who survive her.

Helen was a social services volunteer and formalized a lifelong interest in ornithology and entomology during the family’s residency in Jamaica, British West Indies, where she was involved in several birding journals and organizations. James Bond author Ian Fleming lived in Kingston at the time and was also an avid birdwatcher and co-member of the Gosse Bird Club. He gave her the money to publish a monthly broadsheet on Jamaican birds.

Helen was a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Wilmington and later in life became an independent tax accountant, whose expertise and cheerful reassurances calmed even her most anxious clients.

She traveled extensively, often on nature expeditions both at home and abroad. Helen’s nature was to dig deeply into whatever interest she pursued and she became a passionately well-informed naturalist. She loved her home on Castle Hill and Vermont was well suited to her pleasures as she would walk, kayak, fly kites, blow bubbles, garden, gather mushrooms, identify butterflies and wildflowers, and enjoy the teeming life of her pond.

She was an avid beekeeper and loved to share knowledge, as well as the products of her bees and garden, with her many friends. She was also an excellent writer, often documenting her travels and love of things natural to friends and family, and she maintained a lifelong correspondence with fellow naturalists.

Helen learned to play the cello in middle age and for many years was a dedicated cellist in the Windham Community Orchestra and with several string quartets in the Wilmington and Amherst, Mass., areas.

She was a loyal and supportive friend to many, and much loved host of family gatherings, which reached epic proportions each summer with the celebration of Cousinfest, an annual weekend gathering of friends and family.

Mrs. duMont is survived by her children; her son-in-law, Kurt Schumann; Juliet duMont; and cousins, Frank and Rose Mary Bader, Rita Manton and Tony Saliter. A memorial gathering will be held later in the spring at a time to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to both Brattleboro area hospices, which helped to make Mrs. duMont’s last months peaceful ones. The family expresses its deep gratitude for their tireless and loving care. Donations in her memory may be made to either Brattleboro Area Hospice or Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice in care of the Covey and Allen Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363.

To send condolences to the family of Helen duMont, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.
Published in Bennington Banner on Mar. 15, 2006
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