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Audrey Josephine Smith Dutcher, 99, Former Longtime Closter Resident

CLOSTER, N.J. -- Audrey Josephine Smith Dutcher -- a Darien resident, previously a longtime resident of Closter -- died on Thursday, Sept. 22. She was three months shy of her 100th birthday.

"Throughout her life, Audrey displayed an almost limitless curiosity and thirst for learning," information from the funeral home noted. She got her bachelor's degree when she was 80.

Born in Brooklyn, Dutcher's family moved to Closter before she turned 5. She skipped a grade, en route to graduating from Closter High School. She was an honor student and received the American Legion Auxiliary medal, awarded to a graduate who was outstanding in citizenship, scholarship and character.

Dutcher was a stenographer and law clerk for a Closter law firm, and then the private secretary to an executive vice president of the Bank of New York. During those years, she also took courses in business and economics at NYU.

She was both a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader, treasurer of St. Mary's Rosary Altar Society, board member and secretary of the Closter Swim Club, and chair of the Senior Citizen Hot Line Committee. She took special pride in working on the original Closter Ethics Commission, which developed the borough's Code of Ethics, approved by the mayor and council in 1991.

In the '60s, Dutcher returned to her studies and got an associate's degree from Dominican College in Blauvelt, New York. After her husband died, she again returned to college, graduating in 1996 with a bachelor's in liberal arts from St. Thomas Aquinas College, in Sparkill, New York.

She is survived by her children, Jo Blanche of Stamford, Connecticut, and Kenneth Edward of Park Ridge; grandchildren John, Stephanie and Kyle; brother Thomas Smith of Brooklyn; and nieces and nephews.

Dutcher was predeceased by her husband, Kenneth Earle Dutcher; parents Thomas and Josephine Smith; and sisters Margaret, Lillian and Theresa.

Visiting was held at Moritz Funeral Home in Closter. A mass was held at St. Mary's Church in Closter. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Closter Public Library, by clicking here, or the Alzheimer's Association, by clicking here.

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