Elizabeth “Liz” Marie (May) Duvall died suddenly from an undetected heart defect on May 28, 2020. She lived, loved, and accomplished more in 34 years than most could in ten lifetimes. She was courageous, kind, giving, and always smiling. Her energy and joy were second to none, and you could hear her peals of laughter a mile away.
Elizabeth was born on October 8, 1985 in Goshen, Indiana. She graduated from General Brown High School in 2003. She attended SUNY Potsdam, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Childhood Education with a Mathematics Specialization in 2007, and a Master of Science in Education as a Literacy Specialist in 2008. Elizabeth was an elementary school teacher at LaFargeville Central School. She was pursuing her doctorate at the time of her death. On February 16, 2019, Elizabeth married the love of her life, Richard Duvall. They took great pride in their blended family and the life they created on Butterfield Lake as they raised their four children with a baby on the way.
Elizabeth was a passionate advocate for children, particularly those in need. She was adored as a teacher and coach, and her students and their families would run to embrace her everywhere she went. Elizabeth was intuitive and compassionate, and many people have said that her unwavering encouragement saved their lives. She believed everything happened for a reason, and she paid attention to signs. She had a deep appreciation for culture and diversity that she instilled in her students. By the time Elizabeth’s daughter Chloe was ten years old, the two of them had danced in Times Square, eaten fish and chips at the Tower of London, balanced on the backs of horses in Norway, and zip lined in Costa Rica.
Elizabeth had an incredible sense of adventure and boundless enthusiasm. She made everyone around her roar with laughter with her quick wit, and had a deep impact on everyone she encountered. She drove fast with the windows down and the music LOUD. She jumped off the highest points of cliffs, bridges, and shipwrecks, occasionally throwing in front or back flips to the delight and terror of her family and friends. Elizabeth’s escapades included roadtripping across Australia, swimming with wild dolphins, finding the sketchiest boat tour in Jamaica, chasing hot air balloons in New Mexico, and racing down the Pacific Coast Highway with her “stud” husband. She was a phenomenal dancer. She loved hiking and climbing trees in the woods, boating and other water activities, snowboarding, competition, hard work and organization, fairy lights, and hot tubs. Most of all, she loved her family and friends, and she was fiercely protective of them.
Elizabeth is survived by her husband Richard Allen Duvall, children Richard Ernest Duvall, Olivia Lynn Duvall, Chloe Magdalene May Duvall, and Sophia Hope Duvall, and dog children George Maximus May and Rocky, all of Redwood; father Rex Allen May of Clayton and mother Patricia Ann (Craig) Esford of Cape Vincent; father-in-law Ernest Duvall of Watertown; sister Rachel Rose May Zysk and “little darlings” Pela May Zysk and Clara Rose Zysk of Tampa, brother Gabriel “Gabers” Andrew May of Watertown, sister Abigail Caroline (Anthony) White of Rochester, brother Nicholas Foster (Jessica) Esford of LaFargeville, and sister Virginia Mae Esford of Watertown; brothers-in-law John (Christy) Duvall of Watertown, Michael (Cathy) Duvall of Sherrill, and Geoffery (Kristan) Duvall of Watertown; Neil and Darlene Walroth; and many other loving family members and friends.
Elizabeth’s final words were, “My Rich, my love, something is not right.” Nothing seems right without her here, and everyone who knew Elizabeth will spend the rest of their lives missing her. To honor Elizabeth’s meaningful life, Elizabeth’s family asks that you “Live Like Liz,” and take to heart her favorite quote, by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
A family viewing will be held on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at T.R. Jetty Funeral Home in Clayton, NY. A service and commemoration of Elizabeth’s life will be held at the Duvall home in Redwood, NY on Saturday, June 13 at 6:00 p.m. All who loved Elizabeth are invited to release a pink balloon or lantern on June 13 at 9:00 p.m., and post videos of the release with the hashtag #LiveLikeLiz. Lanterns will be provided by Elizabeth’s family and may be picked up at LaFargeville Central School on Friday, June 12 between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone at River Hospital, NYS Police, Redwood Fire Department, Alexandria Bay Fire Department, and Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Squad for providing exceptional care and fighting so valiantly to try to save our dear Elizabeth. Your heroic efforts have given us great comfort. We would also like to thank our neighbors, friends, and extended family for your meals, supplies, words, and presence.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Northern New York Community Foundation ATTN Elizabeth May Duvall Foundation, 131 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601 to establish the Elizabeth May Duvall Foundation. A more fulsome celebration of Elizabeth’s life and the grand opening of the Elizabeth May Duvall Foundation will be scheduled at a later date.