BAKERSFIELD – Duane H. Ovitt, age 66, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 surrounded by his loving family, at the UVM Medical Center in Burlington. He was born on May 19, 1953 at his family’s homestead, on Ovitt Road in Bakersfield, to Wendell and Evelyn (LaGrange) Ovitt.
Duane lived a simple farmer’s life. He was proud of his family, heritage, and accomplishments. Duane attended Brigham Academy and Enosburg Falls High School where he balanced working on the family farm and playing sports. He married his high school sweetheart, Anne Laroche (Larose) shortly after high school and later welcomed three children.
Duane was devoted and proud of his family, they were his world – all three of his children, so different but yet so alike with the same qualities as Duane, caregivers, dedicated, hard working and life of the party. Nothing gave Duane greater pleasure than the many years working side by side in the Orange Barn and fields with his dearly loved son, Andy.
Duane was known as the Baby to his siblings. They were so proud he continued working the family farm and often visited with their children, helping with chores and experiencing life on the farm.
Other achievements included being recognized as Farmer of the Year, multiple years of Superior Quality Performance, and serving multiple terms on the Bakersfield Select Board.
Duane always included his children in all aspects of farming, living off the land and appreciating nature. Duane’s biggest farming accomplishment was building a new barn in 1976. Duane enjoyed his frequent visits from his children and sons-in-law, driving tractors and working in the fields. His children will fondly remember many Sunday rides along with picnics by the waterfalls in Waterville. But above all things, would be a ride around the Horn or to Ovitt Camp accompanied by kids, family, and friends. There was always a tale to be told about each and every adventure.
In the mid 90’s Duane sold the fifth generation Ovitt Home Farm. While this was devastating to Duane and his family, farming life continued for Duane by working on the Gervais Family Farm, Archambault Family Farm, and at Pleasant Valley Farm in Berkshire. For many years Duane farmed as he did on his own farm- milking cows and taking care of the daily chores. When he settled into Pleasant Valley Farm he took on a different role. Duane felt blessed to be in his John Deere 8320 and Houle spreader, and seeing the world in the comfort of nature. His farm family enjoyed his sense of humor and frequent requests for a “Ginger Ale” delivery.
Duane will forever be missed by all the local farming community. That laugh, his big heart and hands, how he told stories and those choice colorful words. He was one of a kind.
Duane is survived by his three children Andy Ovitt and partner Shannon Ducolon of Bakersfield, Amy and husband Bryce McNall of Fairfax, Angela and better half (husband) Lyle Poirier of Swanton; grandchildren Savannah McKenzie, Sabrinah Ovitt, Andreah Ovitt, Oliviah Ovitt, Emmah Ovitt, Jyi Larivee, Jalyn Larivee, Ethan McNall, and Madysen Poirier; great-grandchildren Mason and Jackson McKenzie, Chloe and Anthony (Jr.) Mason; siblings and spouses, David Ovitt, Donna and John Northrop, Dexter and Sally Ovitt, Dwight Ovitt, Dennis and Donna Ovitt, Dale and Mary Ovitt, and Douglas and Jane (Gaudette) Ovitt. And many other aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Duane was predeceased by his father Wendall, mother Evelyn, sister-in-law Cora, and nephews Chad and Darren.
Duane had a special relationship, of 23 years, with Bette Paquette. Duane and Bette took great care of one another. They knew exactly what one another needed. Bette brought another family to Duane’s life that he loved and adored. Bette has three sons, Jeremy and Sherry Lee Paquette, Nathan and Kristin Paquette, and Jordan Greenwood; grandchildren, Breanna Paquette, Autumn Jean Paquette, Ashley Holbrook, and a great-grandchild Elena Bessette.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2019 beginning promptly at 1:00 PM at the Dairy Center- Stonebrook, 2445 Sampsonville Road, Enosburg Falls, Vermont 05450. Interment will follow on the Ovitt Home Farm in Bakersfield with close family and friends at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, Duane’s family would welcome any donations to contribute to the building of a special memorial in his honor on the “Hummock” located on the family farm. Contributions may be directed to Angela Poirier, 2480 Highgate Road, St Albans VT 05478.
Our family would like to sincerely thank Northwestern Medical Center and UVM for their extraordinary care.