Jacquelyn Carmen Durrell
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DURRELL Jacquelyn Carmen Durrell, age 81, died Monday, February 2, 2009 peacefully after a long illness at her home in Fairfield, with family members at her side. Called Jacky by family and friends, she had many roles in the community but is best known as Fairfield First Selectman from 1983-93. Jacky was born in Sioux City, IA, the daughter of Loris and Florence Dow. She spent most of her childhood in Minneapolis, MN, graduating from that city's Central High School in 1945 and working at a local TV station. She attended the University of Minnesota, where she met her future husband, the late Richard "Dick" Durrell, on a blind date. Jacky and Dick married in 1949, and lived in Minneapolis, Dallas, Texas and Westport, before moving to their beloved hometown of Fairfield in 1959. Dick pursued a career at Time Inc. while Jacky focused on raising their children and community involvement. Jacky's initial volunteer activities included being a Girl Scout leader, Sunday School teacher, Great Books instructor in the local schools, and PTA president. She was elected to the Fairfield Board of Education in 1973, becoming the town's first female school board chairwoman. She served as a State Representative from 1977-79, was on the town Recreation Commission, and was the first woman elected to the Fairfield Board of Selectmen in 1981. Jacky then served five terms as First Selectman beginning in 1983, with her accomplishments including maintaining the town's financial excellence, spearheading the economic revival of Fairfield Center, and forming Sullivan-McKinney Elder Housing at Grasmere. She always reached out to those in need, such as by working to establish Fairfield's Operation Hope homeless shelter and to open the town's first group home for the mentally challenged. Jacky was president of the statewide Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Her involvement in the community continued after her time in elected office. She was appointed to the state Ethics Commission, and served on the Fairfield Police Commission from 1998-2006, including as chairman. She served on numerous local non-profit boards, including those of the American Red Cross, Bridgeport Hospital, Channel 49 (local Public Television station), Fairfield University, Kennedy Center, Operation Hope, RYASAP, Sacred Heart University, United Way, Visiting Nurse Services, and Wakeman's Boys and Girls Club. In addition to her public service and community involvement, Jacky will be remembered for her sense of humor, ability to work with others, optimism, energy, common sense, and willingness to help the less fortunate. Her other interests included reading, following current affairs from the local to international level, painting, tap dancing and travel. Her family will remember her as a great Mom and Grandma who offered them love, guidance, support and encouragement. She will be missed by her many friends, acquaintances and co-workers through the years as well as by her family. The Durrell family would like to thank the VNS Hospice at Home staff and other caregivers for their loving assistance during both Jacky and Dick's illnesses. She was pre-deceased by her husband and by their son, Scott-Alexander Durrell of Minneapolis, and is survived by five children, seven grandchildren and four brothers: daughter Piper Durrell and her husband, Russ May, of Blacksburg, Va., and their children, Lillian May and Jackson May; daughter Robyn Geissler and her husband, Tom, of Mill Valley, Calif., and their children, Jillian Geissler, Christopher Geissler and Annie Geissler; daughter Kerry Durrell and her companion, Peter Hancock, of San Diego; son Brad Durrell and his partner, Richard Barnes, of Morris; son Alex Durrell and his wife, Trudi, of Fairfield and their children, Ryan Durrell and Stacey Durrell; brother Loris Dow of Johnson City, Tenn.; brother Duane Dow of Clearwater, Fla.; Ronald Dow of Scroggins, Texas, and James Dow of Springfield, Mo.; as well as by sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and other relatives. A memorial service will take place at First Church Congregational, corner of Beach Road and Old Post Road, Fairfield on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 11 a.m. with the Rev. David Spollett officiating. Entombment will be private in Oak Lawn Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Spear-Miller Funeral Home, 39 South Benson Road, Fairfield . In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Kennedy Center, 2440 Reservoir Ave., Trumbull, CT 06611, or Jacky Durrell Service Award (college scholarships for Fairfield students), Fairfield Parks and Recreation Dept., 75 Mill Plain Road, Fairfield, CT 06824, Attn: Ginna Paules.

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Published in Connecticut Post on Feb. 4, 2009.
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Memories & Condolences
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23 entries
February 15, 2009
To the Durrell family,
My heart felt condolences are extended to you at this very sad time.
Jacky was a special women and a dear friend of my father, she will always have a special spot in my heart as she officially swore me in as a Police Officer in 1987.
My she always be remembered for the great person she was.

Grant R. Dalling
February 8, 2009
Jacky was a great lady, She was a great example to me for her strength honesty and dedication to family and community. I admired her and have always been greatful for the support she gave me when I was active in community life in Fairfield.
Ruth Prior
February 7, 2009
I was so sorry to hear of Jacky's passing. Playing piano for the Durrell functions was always a great "gig." One always felt welcome as part of the family and the down home stories added to the fun. Wasn't it something about the rhubarb?
Milton Jacoby
February 6, 2009
To The Durell Family,

Fond memories, warm stories and heartfelt sympathy to you all.
Dede (Wills) Foster
February 5, 2009
She was the brightest and most thoughtful person I ever knew. Jacky was a dear friend, through high school, weddings (maid of honor) and a lifetime of memories. I miss her already. All my prayers to all you good kids. She was Mom with a lot of love to share.
Flora Lu Wachter Klingensmith
February 5, 2009
I have just heard about the recent passing of Jacky Durrell.

We knew of each other from the early days. We were really close friends. I am very sorry that I was not able to speak to her before she slipped away!

My heart goes to her and her family.
Janet McDade
February 5, 2009
Our deepest and heartfelt condolences. Fond memories of our dear friend and classmate. Class of 1945, Reunion Committee, Minneapolis Central High School.
Sam Cheolis
February 5, 2009
February 5, 2009
February 5, 2009
February 5, 2009
February 5, 2009
February 4, 2009
Dear Durrell FAmily
Those we Love remain with us,
for Love itself lives on.
Cherished memories never fade,
because one loved is gone.
Those we Love can never be,
more than a thought apart,
for as long as there's a memory,
they live on in our heart.
Your mom will always hold a special place in our hearts.
My sincerest sympathy to you.
Ellen (Dunn) Davies
February 4, 2009
To Jacky's Family,

Please accept my sincere condolences on Jacky's death. I will remain eternally grateful to her for my appointment as chief of police. She was a wonderful woman to work for and to work with. I regret that I will not be in Fairfield to attend her services.
Ron Sullivan
February 4, 2009
To Jacky's Family:
Please accept my sympathy on the loss of your dear Mother and Grandmother. "Jacky" was one dedicated public servant - and a bright, tough lady.
We served together on the MPO - VRPA (Metropolitan Planning Organization - Valley Regional Planning Agency) when I served as mayor of Ansonia. I have only the fondest of memories: humor, respect and thoughfulness stand out particularly about her many qualities. Fairfield was fortunate indeed to have such a leader. May her love for you comfort you in the days and weeks ahead.
Tom Clifford
February 4, 2009
To the Family of Jackie Durrell:
Jackie was such a caring and compassionate person. She was a woman of integrity who gave so much of herself to others. I will always remember her as a great role model. May her soul rest in peace.
Carolyn Vermont
February 4, 2009
so, sorry to learn of the passing of Mrs. Durrell. May you children and grand children find great peace and comfort in the legacy she left behind .
Constance Richardson
( Connie )
constance Richardson
February 4, 2009
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Linda Cervero
February 4, 2009
I am so saddened to read of Jackie's passing. She was a wonderful and caring woman and so active in the community and many organizations. I knew her from Fairfield American Legion, Bridgeport PAL, and the Kennedy Center. She and her husband are now once again together and at peace.
Tom Scanlon (Bridgeport PD - Retired)
February 4, 2009
May our Thoughts and Prayers be with your family
Charlie & Sarah Skubas
February 4, 2009
May our Thoughts and Prayers be with your family.Jackie was a wonderful and kind person
Joe&Carole Skubas
February 4, 2009

from formerly fairfield.
laura , ricky, and justin zygmont
laura zygmont
February 4, 2009
Offering our deepest condolences during this time.
The Staff of Spear-Miller Funeral Home
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