Thanks to You: DBR Remembers Elaine Nudd and Her Many Years of Passion for Duxbury Beach
by: Margaret Kearney, DBR President
Duxbury Beach Reservation remembers with fondness long-time trustee Elaine Nudd, who passed away on July 5 at the age of 91. Elaine’s role as a trustee was to represent the Gurnet-Saquish community, where she spent most of her life.
Elaine fell in love with the Gurnet as a child who accompanied her parents to the Gurnet for summer vacations. After graduating from Radcliffe College in 1950, Elaine made what she thought was a final visit to Gurnet to “get over my childhood crush” on it,” but instead ended up buying a lot and purchasing a prefab building to put on it. Elaine hauled tools and materials along Duxbury Beach because she had no car. She learned to shingle and lay floors and spent many weeks building her house.
Elaine married and had two sons, Eric and Andy. The marriage ended, and she spent the next several years raising and supporting her boys by becoming a professional photographer. In 1964 she married Frank E. Nudd, and they had a son, Geoff. For many years Elaine and Frank spent their summers at their Gurnet home, and in 1980 they became “year-rounders.” Elaine became a realtor but her real talent was as a pastel and watercolor artist.
Life was never easy for Elaine, and one low point was the night in 1987 when their house on Gurnet burned to the ground during a severe winter nor’easter that sent sparks from the wood stove down the chimney and back into the house. The fire trucks could not drive through the snow, but Elaine and Frank were able to get through in their Jeep and saw that the boys had gotten out but not the pets. Once again, Elaine went into her construction mode, but this time with Frank, Eric, and Geoff doing the heavy lifting.
Elaine was one of the contributors to the Duxbury Beach Book, which the Reservation published in 2007. She was the author of Chapter 7, “Beyond the Beach: Gurnet, Saquish, and Clark’s Island.” She also sold many of the books to the summer residents of Gurnet and Saquish. The rumor was you couldn’t get by her house without purchasing a book. She also kept her summer neighbors informed about beach issues. Elaine’s son Eric lived with Elaine and is the reason she was able to keep living year-round on the Gurnet after Frank passed away, despite her advancing age. For many years Eric has helped the Reservation with beach cleanups and grass planting.
Elaine always hosted a Christmas party on the Sunday before Christmas. Friends came from miles away, and one couple from Hingham walked out and back from the bridge every year no matter how cold or icy the weather. Those who attended these gatherings will never forget them. Eric would decorate a tree (see page 107 of the Duxbury Beach Book for a photo of Elaine’s house with the Christmas tree in the window). Eric would also dig sea clams, and Elaine would stuff and bake them. Lots of friends will be missing these wonderful parties. Elaine’s fellow Reservation trustees will also miss her.