Audrey Joyce Helming Dubay, 86, died in the home she has lived in since 1956 on July 5,2018. Audrey leaves her husband of 68 years, Keith Dubay. They were married on April 15th in Bristol, in a dress she had made.
Unable to conceive early in their marriage and unable to adopt due to their mixed marriage (she was Lutheran and he was Catholic) they became foster parents – hosting dozens of children in their home. Together they had five children, Keith Jr, Kevin, Keryl, Kiernan and Kristin. Their youngest was adopted in 1970, across racial lines and Audrey was often unaccepting of the small-mindedness of people who were confused by their family photos.
Audrey graduated from Bristol High School in 1949 and St Joseph College in 1990. Her thirst for and drive to continue her education was never-ending. Audrey worked in a Credit Union in Bristol (Hildreth Press which became City Graphics) where she worked way up from Teller to Manager. She was known to walk to the office in the snow when roads were closed so that shift workers could access their checks. In 1981 she left to run the Teachers Credit Union for Hartford, West Hartford and Bloomfield Schools. Under her leadership that credit Union (now known as Franklin Trust Federal Credit Union) grew from $4.5million to $34.5 million. At the request of the National Credit Union Administration, she saved many other credit unions in danger of failure by merging with them including Colt Firearms and Atco Thread. At Franklin Trust, she began the internship program there that brought hundreds of high school students for work experience to her offices and assisted in the launch of an entirely student-run branch in Hartford at Bulkeley school. She believed that financial institutions should serve those most in-need – rather than shareholders and served the Credit Union movement for more than 43 years.
Her son, Kiernan is President and CEO of Franklin Trust today. The mission she established to be a community centered organization was realized when the Credit Union became a "community" rather than employed based organization. Today more than 8200 people are provided financial services from this low-cost, high-quality organization. Each of her children took roles that serve those less fortunate through law, financial services, nursing and public health. Audrey travelled the world with her husband Keith – largely on cruise ships and with her closest friends Dixie and Gordon Losey and Arthur and Esther Gatzuras. She visited all seven continents. Among her favorite trips were to the South of France, Africa, and a family trip to Italy where all 25 of her immediate family members spent two weeks in a villa outside of Florence.
Audrey supported dozens of charities including her church of 65 years - St Andrew Lutheran Church in Bristol, CT – Southern Poverty Law Center, American Diabetes Association, NAACP, Urban League, Planned Parenthood and their beloved UConn. She was an avid baker and knitter, always happy to brighten someone’s day who was struggling with a personal challenge or celebrating the birth of a child. She sent more than 120 baby hats to warm the tiny heads of newborns in Africa as part of a knitters movement to encourage President Bush to continue funding vaccination campaigns abroad.
Audrey taught those around her by example – and those who came in contact with her learned from her keen financial management skills. One nurse’s aide wrote to her years after leaving them to let her know that she had indeed opened an account at a credit union and saved for her wedding – rather than charging it. Audrey shared all she had. Audrey’s 1949 Yearbook (The Torch) stated that she was a “shining streak of vim and vitality” and that was true until her final days. Her bright blue eyes and wide smile were present as her children and grandchildren visited her and she thanked every nurse who tended her.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Southern Poverty Law Center – to continue her life-long mission of helping those in need and toward social justice for all. There will be no wake or funeral – but a celebration of life will be held at her home, 62 Hardwick Road, Bristol, CT on Aug. 4, 2018, from 3 to 6 p.m., as she requested a dance floor and amazing food and the opportunity to celebrate her life with others who knew and loved her.