Barbara Houston Duell, 88, a long-time resident of Tolland, joined her husband forever in eternal rest as she passed away on October 9, 2017 in her home while surrounded by family. She was born in New Haven, Connecticut on July 2, 1929, daughter to the late John and Arlene Houston, she was predeceased by her husband of 52 years, Ralph H. Duell, a brother Robert Houston and his wife Anne, and brother John “Richard” Houston and his wife Katherine. Barbara graduated as the Salutatorian of her high school class and attended nursing school where she met her best friend and future sister-in-law Mildred (Duell) Motz, who introduced Barbara to her brother Ralph. He became her husband, best friend, and the love of her life. Barbara graduated from Hartford Hospital School of Nursing, where she worked as a Registered Nurse from 1951. She later worked at Rockville General Hospital until retiring in 1992. During her career, Barbara helped alleviate the burden of other nurses and working mothers at the hospital by instituting a novel program called MASH (Mothers Against Staying Home), which allowed them to return to work following their maternity leave while the Pediatric department cared for their children up to their sixth month. Barbara spread the success of her program to the Hartford Working Women’s Association, which allowed the establishment and chartering of the program to several other organizations. She helped legislators rewrite labor laws for working mothers and gave lectures to raise awareness. Barbara was a lifelong UConn Huskies basketball fan, an avid bridge player, and loved sewing and reading. Her professional football favorites reflected franchises from the “golden” years like the Vikings, Packers, and Redskins. She was an exceptional quilter and member of the Vernon Nutmeg Quilters Guild. All of her children and grandchildren were recipients of her quilts, which were truly works of art. Barbara was a collector of many interesting treasures including cruets, Margaret Furlong angels, and china creamware. Christmas and Easter were special times of the year and Barbara decorated her house magnificently, to the delight of family and friends. Holiday occasions were opportunities for her to host family dinners where all were welcome to share in the love and comradery.
Barbara is survived by brother James Campbell and his wife Sally of Houston, Texas, a sister Jean Holstead and her late husband Norris of Pullman, Washington; her children, Craig Duell and his wife Renea of South Windsor, Tim Duell and his wife Joan of Manchester, Laurie Lemek and her husband Kevin Umsworth of Ellington, Wendy Beloff and her husband Wayne of Tolland, and David Duell of Tolland; nine grandchildren, Tara Moriarty and her husband Kevin, Dustin Lemek and his wife Jaime, Katrice Sponzo and her husband Tony, Danielle Trubia, Chelsea Duell, Katherine Carr, Emily Carr, Zachary Duell, and Richard Duell; and ten great grandchildren. Especially in her later years, Barbara was a person of strong convictions and spoke her mind often, earning the name of “Max” (Maxine) among her family and especially her grandchildren. She sewed and distributed a grand assortment of personally-designed quilts to her family as a culmination of many years of dedicated passion to her art. Relatives and friends may join the family on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at the Tolland Memorial Funeral home, 375 Merrow Road, Tolland between 10am-12-pm with a Funeral Home Service at 12 pm. For online condolences please visit www.pietrasfuneralhome.com.