Information via Castiglione Funeral Home
Ernestine “Ernie” Durrell, a longtime Greenwich resident, passed away at her home on March 15, 2021 at the age of 93.
She was born in Thompsonville, Connecticut, the daughter of Julia and Ernest Bourque. As a child she was known for her beautiful soprano voice which earned her solo singing spots on WDRC radio in Hartford.
Ernestine graduated from Enfield High School then earned her bachelor’s degree in music from UConn, where she met fellow undergrad and future husband of 57 years, James Durrell. In 1959 the young couple moved to Greenwich and she taught piano lessons. She returned to school and earned her master’s degree in Music Education at NYU and her second master’s degree from Columbia University Teacher’s College.
Ernie taught general music in the Greenwich Public Elementary Schools from 1964 until 1999 where she was famous for her well-crafted school musicals which she produced, choreographed, directed, and conducted, devoting long hours to rehearsing, writing scripts, sewing costumes, and writing music parts. Ernie was a member of the Greenwich Choral Society and Stanwich Church Choir.
After retiring, she served as chairman for the Young People’s Concerts for the Greenwich Symphony coordinating school field trips and preparing lessons to familiarize students with symphony programs before they attended the concerts. Following in her mother’s footsteps, her son David Durrell taught strings for the Norwalk Public Schools and Ernie accompanied his string ensemble students on piano through the years.
Ernie loved cooking, knitting and gardening and she sewed many of her own clothes. She was especially interested in history and an avid collector of antiques. She and her husband designed and built their Greenwich home based on an antique home in Deerfield, MA.
Ernie and Jim were always up for adventure and traveled to Europe, South America, Antarctica and Russia. They loved the water and moored their sailboat the “Katie D” at the Old Greenwich Yacht Club.
Above all, she cherished her family and friends. In the evenings, she and her family would often play music together, each of her three children playing an instrument. She loved animals and her pets were important members of the family.
Ernie is survived by her brother Bryant and her three children Julie (John), Stewart (Susan), David (Maricarmen) and her grandchildren Katherine, James and Angelica. A private burial is planned.