Rene C. duFort, 88, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving wife and daughters on February 13, 2021. Preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Marie-Paule (nee Dussault) duFort and brothers, Roger and Gerald.
Rene was born in Malone, NY., on December 11, 1932, the fourth of six children. While in school and working at his family business, Dufort Brothers, he met and married Shirley Adams, relocated to El Paso, Texas and began his military career in the US Army Air Defense. Together, Rene and Shirley had six children and enjoyed many family activities such as camping, driving in the mountains and block parties. Rene engaged in hobbies such as ham radio, light woodworking and hiking in the mountains. Rene’s military career took him to Ft. Bliss in Texas and later to Ft. Carson & NORAD Air Command in Colorado Springs, CO. His service to his country included Korea, Japan, Germany, and Vietnam, where his humanitarian work included helping citizens of the war-ravaged country rebuild their communities. His incredible work for the people was greatly appreciated. After 20 years of service, and being awarded the National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Vietnam Medal with five Bronze Service Stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Palm, Armed Forces Medal – 1st Class and the Bronze Star Medal, Rene retired with the rank of Major.
After serving his country, Rene and Shirley moved back to Northern New York and lived on Lake Champlain. There he found other passions – Regatta sail racing and desktop publishing, and embarked on a second career as an English Professor where he taught at the Clinton Community College and the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY.
In later years, Rene and Shirley relocated to Apple Valley, MN., where they could be close to their daughters and their families. Rene found passions in golf, computers, books and celebrating his family. His biggest passion by far was his family – tracing family history back many generations and imparting these stories to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He created Familia Philia – “Love of Family” – to tell the stories and history of those who had come before us.
Rene was a lifelong learner and felt that if you could read a book about something, you could do anything. His pursuit of knowledge was gained both by formal education and self-directed learning. He attended St. Joseph’s Academy, Clarkson University, Notre Dame University, University of Maryland and the University of Colorado, Boulder. He was a man of high intelligence, reliability, leadership, capability, devotion, and curiosity. He loved his wife, his family, his country, and his life. He was always working to improve himself and the world around him. As one of his great grandsons dubbed him – he was “The Great”.
Rene is survived by his wife of 67 years, Shirley, and six children, Brenda Shoults (Jerry), Paul (SueNell), Guy (Roxanne), Steven (Robin), Cynthia Mooers (Dick) and Deborah Devine (Steve). He is also survived by 12 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, sisters; Jacqueline Cutler of Malone, NY, Jeannine Noble of New Mexico, Sue Intermont (Bob) of Long Island, NY and many nieces and nephews.
A family service will be held at White Funeral Home in Apple Valley, MN on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 11 a.m. Visitation just prior. A full Celebration of Life and Interment at Ft. Snelling with full military honors will be held in late summer/early fall 2021.
Rene was a member of the Apple Valley American Legion and supported our country’s vets and service men and women.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorials in Rene’s name to his fellow American Veterans via the VA Hospital, VA Home in Hastings, or other Veteran organization of your choice.
To our husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather - You have shifted your sails, and are now in your eternal home, cradled in God’s everlasting arms. You are His, and He is yours. Gone from our sight, but forever in our hearts…we will always love you.