Jenny Goodwin Duel, former Pitcher Inn proprietor with gift for friendship

Everyone said that it was impossible to get a parking place and admission to the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Jane Goodwin Duel didn’t buy it. She and a close friend left Warren, Vermont before dawn in her light blue VW convertible bug with the Rolls Royce hood, car festooned with international flags and packed with helium balloons. Arriving at the Olympic checkpoints, their festive phaéton was waved through. In short order they had tickets to the women’s giant slalom and men’s figure skating, seeing Robin Cousins win the gold medal -- and they picnicked on Mirror Lake in between.

Intrepid, optimistic, and with a profound gift for friendship, Jane Duel lived life to its fullest. She died peacefully at Cooperstown Center Nursing and Rehab on July 14, 2020 

Born in Baltimore, to Dr. Mary Stewart Hooke Goodwin and Dr. Thomas Campbell Goodwin, on December 16, 1938, Jane, who went by Jenny in Vermont, grew up in Cooperstown, where her parents moved in the early 1940s to work at Bassett Hospital. The Drs. Goodwin’s distinguished careers included groundbreaking work in pediatrics, especially in the field of childhood communication disorders.

Jane graduated from the Emma Willard School, studied at Wellesley College, eventually graduating from Columbia University. Her talents and interests took her to teach English near Mexico City, edit at Moderator Magazine in Philadelphia, and work in television production on the Merv Griffin Show in New York. 

A superb athlete, Jane was an avid tennis player and skier. During the time that she was married to Arthur Duel, ski trips brought her to Sugarbush in Warren, where she started a new chapter of her life in the 1970s.

Her hospitable nature and culinary expertise led her to innkeeping – first running her breakfast restaurant Reveille at Sgt. Pepper’s Lodge, and then as a partner in and manager of the Pitcher Inn.

Jane made the Pitcher Inn into a hub of local life. The door was always open, the coffee pot always on, and loyal pets always eager to greet. The dining room hosted rural resource meetings, National Register of Historic Places nominations, and countless other local civic functions.  Thespians performed Shakespeare in the backyard, a brass band played in the front yard in Warren’s bicentennial celebration, and many memorable fêtes filled the rooms. With “eggs reveille,” boatloads of hollandaise on her eggs benedict, and blueberry laden pancakes, she cooked arguably the best breakfast in Vermont.

Through these years, Jane served on the Warren Planning Commission, and, as a Warren Justice of the Peace, loved officiating at weddings. 

After the Pitcher Inn burned in a devastating fire, her career in the Mad River Valley included hosting a radio program on WDEV and work with the Chamber of Commerce. 

Jane returned to Cooperstown in the late 1990s when offered an opportunity at New York State Historical Association/Fenimore Art Museum and Farmers’ Museum to direct group sales and events.

Her love of animals — she always had a least one devoted dog and several cats of unique temperament — led her to work in development at the Susquehanna SPCA, before joining Redpoint Builders. As office manager at Redpoint, she was proud to be a part of Tim Horvath’s team and their work on historic restorations and new construction.  A dedicated volunteer, Jane served on boards and committees of both the Cooperstown Friends of the Library and Chamber of Commerce. 

Jane cherished time with her two brothers, Thomas Campbell Goodwin (Tommy) and Daniel Hennessy Goodwin. Both were Washington D.C based for many years and she adored her visits there. An acclaimed filmmaker, Tommy was posthumously recognized with an Academy Award in 1992 as producer of the documentary “Educating Peter.” Daniel, who had been Director of Smithsonian Press and Productions, consulted for NYSHA during the early 2000s with extended time in Cooperstown, a delight for both of them. 

From childhood through the end of her life, Jane had a gift for building friendships, always bringing with her a great sense of humor, unshakable political views, and sincere interest in the details as well as momentous events of her friends’ lives. She loved opera, flowers and her garden, and travel, particularly enjoying trips to Greece, Turkey and Cuba. 

Jane is survived by her sister-in-law Andrea Meditch and niece Alexandra M. Goodwin, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU Department of General Internal Medicine,  and many, many friends -- friends from childhood through new friends with caregivers at Cooperstown Center, and from every stage of her life in between. She is predeceased by her brothers and sister in law Dorothy L. Jackson. 

A private memorial will be held later this summer. In lieu of flowers and in honor of her love of animals, donations to Susquehanna SPCA are welcome.