Obituary: Carolyn Blough Duffy, 1943-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Carolyn Blough Duffy, 1943-2024 

Language teacher will be fondly remembered by hundreds of former students throughout the world

Published January 8, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated January 8, 2024 at 8:55 a.m.

click to enlarge Carolyn Duffy - COURTESY
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  • Carolyn Duffy

Carolyn Blough Duffy, loving wife, mother, grandmother and teacher, died peacefully with family nearby on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at her home in Hinesburg, Vt., after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Born in 1943, Carolyn grew up on a family farm in Somerset County, Pa., with a few years in Texas when her father returned from World War II. In her youth, she played the piano at her family’s church and was valedictorian of her high school class.

At Penn State University, she was the only major in Latin American area studies. There, in the fall of 1962, she met her future husband, Leonard. It was love at first sight. After graduating, she worked in Washington, D.C., until their marriage in 1966, whereupon they set off for Guadalajara, Mexico, and then Florence, Italy, the following spring. She taught high school Spanish for a year in Pennsylvania before the couple moved back to Washington, where she started her own language school for embassy personnel while finishing her master’s in applied linguistics at American University.

After the birth of their son, Brennan, they moved to Hinesburg, Vt., where their daughter, Cara, was born.

Briefly, Carolyn took up weaving and poetry until she was recruited to teach in the English as a Second Language program at Saint Michael’s College. She was director of the English Language program and taught and mentored students in the MATESL program until retiring in 2015. She was proud to have received an award for excellence in teaching in 1994.

In 1991, a former student asked her to help start a bilingual school in Bogota. Gimnasio Vermont is now considered one of the highest-ranked pre-K to 12 schools in Colombia. At about the same time, she also started a teacher-training program at the Hellenic American Union in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece, where she also taught for a portion of the year for many years while she completed her PhD at Georgetown University. One of her proudest accomplishments was a frequently cited paper she wrote for the U.S. Peace Institute. She also coauthored a TOEFL textbook for English language learners that became a worldwide resource. She will be fondly remembered by hundreds of former students throughout the world.

Carolyn loved her home and farm, her gardens, skiing, her horses, and many dogs and cats, but most of all “Gummy” loved to spend time with her four grandchildren, with each of whom she had a special, memorable relationship. She became a passionate golfer later in life and loved spending time on Lake Champlain and cooking delicious meals and entertaining.

She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Leonard; her son, Brennan (Brooke), of Rutland, Vt., and daughter, Cara (David Carreon), of Catonsville, Md.; her grandchildren, Teegan and Ronan Duffy and Jacob and Emma Carreon; her sisters, Marilyn Blough of Huntington, Vt., and Kay Blough (Ben Weller) of Huntington, N.Y.; her brother, Robert Blough (Mary), of Boswell, Pa., her sister-in-law, Meg Guilfoy (Ed) of Huntington, Vt.; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was predeceased by her parents, Robert and Amy (Shaffer) Blough, of Boswell, Pa.

The family is especially thankful for the excellent care provided by her oncologist and friend, Dr. Elise Everett, and the caring nurses and staff of the University of Vermont Medical Center; the UVM Home Health & Hospice program; the caring helpers of Home Instead; and for the diligence of Dr. Michael Kosta in Boulder, Colo., who gave her additional years. We are also thankful for the love and support of her devoted friends and family.

Visiting hours will be held at the United Church of Hinesburg parish house, 10570 Rte. 116, Hinesburg, VT, on Friday, January 12, 3 to 6 p.m. A memorial celebration will be held on Sunday, January 14, 2 p.m., at the United Church of Hinesburg, with a reception to follow in the church’s parish house. A private interment will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UVM Home Health & Hospice, the UVM Cancer Center, or a charity of your choice. Arrangements are in care of Gifford Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Richmond. To send online condolences to her family, please visit

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