Charles Gibson Durfee, Jr.
If I had a nickname name like “Gib,” instead of “Tersh” or my real name, “Emanue,l” I could have gone much further in life. But Gib was a perfect name for Gib Durfee: crisp, smart, original, lilting, friendly. And Gib was all those things: a kind and gentle man (indeed, a real gentleman); always ready with a song or show tune from the 1920s, 30s and 40s; a smile and a gentle laugh close at hand; the kind of person you knew would be a true and lasting friend.
At Yale, where I first knew him 68 years ago, Gib was one of our most liked classmates: elected to the Trumbull residential College Council, the Fence Club (very swish), the Aurelian Honor Society, and Skull and Bones (shush). He continued his Yale connections after graduation always attending Whiff and class reunions and for 30 years chairing the Washington Committee of the Davenport College Fellowship.
But it was as a musician, arranger, and singer during his undergraduate years that he most blossomed: becoming music director of the a capella group, the Duke’s Men, and in senior year, he was elected a Whiffenpoof. And did he ever look handsome in his white tie and tails. And, he had one of the most memorable Whiff solos: in the middle of one of their arrangements (I can’t remember which one but Jim Downey will), Gib would croon, “in a platinum jewel box,” for which he received a deafening round of applause from his friends in the audience.
But much as he liked his overseas travels, his navy years, and his marathon running, his first love was for his 5 children: Susan, Dody, Chip, Tim and Don, and his beautiful and caring Camilla — a 62-year deep and personal love. I have never seen a more devoted couple.
Goodbye my dear friend. You have brought much love and happiness into all of our lives. We shall miss you.
Charles Gibson “Gib” Durfee, Jr. died peacefully at home on July 8, 2018 in Chevy Chase, MD at the age of 84. Gib is survived by his wife Camilla and his children Susan, Dorothy, Charles, Timothy and Donald. He was the proud grandfather of then grandchildren. He attended Phillips Academy and then his father’s alma mater, Yale University, where he sang with the Duke’s Men and the Whiffenpoofs. After serving four years as a naval officer, he worked at Electric Boat in Groton, CT. In 1964 he moved the young family to Pittsburgh, PA, where he worked for Westinghouse. Gib’s many friends remember him for his generosity, love of music and radiant optimism. A memorial service was held on July 11, 2018 at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to ISSA.org or your local hospice.
Published by The Washington Post, July 19, 2018