The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 19, 2013

Waseca music teacher remembered as a master educator

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WASECA —

His bands were regarded as among the best in the Upper Midwest, and in 1990 the Waseca High Band performed at the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix.

“He was all about the experience for the kids,” Fritz said. “He worked hard at producing a show and product that demanded from the kids everything they could give.”

Fritz said Dufault knew how to put students in positions that allowed them to flourish. Moreover, he made sure everyone connected with the program received their due.

Fritz said as a volunteer helper he essentially served as a cheerleader,  a minor role that Dufault did not allow to go unnoticed.

“He made me feel like I was a contributor, and he always found a way to tell you that.”

Dufault’s pastor, the Rev. Cary Larson of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waseca, said Dufault, a founding member of the 3-year-old congregation, was a principled man possessing the courage of his convictions.

“He didn’t do things for popularity’s sake. He was just a man of integrity. He didn’t round corners, and we don’t see that too often.

“It was important for him to take a stand and be judged according to that stand. But it wasn’t so much about him having his way ... he always had the bigger picture in mind.”

Deb Wantoch-Yess, the choir director at Waseca High School, taught with Dufault for 11 years. She said if it hadn’t been for Dufault’s encouraging words, she likely would have resigned after her first year of teaching.

She said she didn’t think teaching was for her, but Dufault, always looking at the bigger picture, allayed her concerns.

“He just said, ‘This too shall pass. Just give it one more year.’ He was super, super encouraging.”

It’s also worth noting she chose Dufault to be godfather to her sons.

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