6/1/2020 – Elizabeth M. Duvall, Redwood

6/1/2020 – Elizabeth M. Duvall, Redwood

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.


  1. Susan Hayes Posted

    Rich, I’m so very sorry to hear of your loss. While I did not know your wife, I’ve read the story of her life. It sounds like she was a wonderful lady. I hope that knowledge sustains you and your family. Thinking of you with prayers and concern. Take care. Susan Hayes

  2. MMiller Posted

    Liz was a very special person in my children’s life which makes her very special to me as well. Liz babysat my children when they were young and now, as young adults, still have vivid memories of the gift she gave them. It took me a day or so even to look at this, Liz was filled with joy and happiness and to this day I’ve never seen anyone take so much joy in children. Liz will always hold a very special place in my family’s hearts. Words cannot express my sympathy to her family and her daughter. Just know the happiness she provided to my children will be carried on for lifetimes.

  3. Lise Montrois Posted

    My Dear Patty,
    I have tried to find your telephone number to call you but don’t know how to get it.
    I just want to say how very sorry I am that you have lost your daughter. I know very well the pain & heartache that comes with that loss. Don’t be afraid to cry anytime & anywhere. Grief will always be with you. I still miss my Karen so much.
    When things calm down for you a bit, call me & we’ll go out for lunch.

  4. Pam Scee Posted

    Dear Patty and all your family, I can’t begin to find the words to convey what I am feeling, but hope you know that I am taking my prayers for all of you to the one who loves us most. May you feel Him draw especially close to you during this difficult time. My daughter Jaime LOVED Liz! She was everything her obit said and much, much more. Liz gave her a lift every time she entered her classroom. What fortunate kids to have had her influence in their lives. Only God knows the exact number of lives she bettered and we all know its hundreds! She had an amazing life here on earth but it will never compare with what she is experiencing now. I think of the song “I Can Only Imagine” and it brings me joy for those who have reached their final home like Liz. I pray you will feel the mighty strength and peace of God’s presence until that time we can all join Liz in the GREATEST adventure we will ever experience.

  5. Beverly Branch Posted

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of your family

  6. Kristen Leikam Posted

    I just heard of this today and am truly devastated for you all. Liz was my son Parker’s Odyssey of the Mind coach about a decade back and she made quite an impression on him. I lost Parker 4 years ago and one of his friends posted a picture with Liz and Parker along with the rest of the Odyssey team in it and it tugged at my heart. Parker and Liz were both big time huggers. I am sure they gave each other the biggest of hugs when he welcomed her in. Be looking for signs. I know she will be sending them. My prayers are with you.

  7. Ann Erickson Posted

    John and I were so saddened to hear of the passing of “Miss May.” We heard so many wonderful stories when Patrick Conley and Cooper came to live with us in his home town of Valparaiso, IN, after his diagnosis of cancer. As grandparents to Cooper, we could tell what a great influence Liz had on Cooper and how Patrick admired her and appreciated all her help in guiding Cooper. Know that Patricks brother Rocko and his sister Julie as well as our other 4 children and all the grandchildren appreciate all that unselfish acts of kindness during Patricks return to New York. She will alway be remembered as the Angel looking over Cooper then and now. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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