In 1955, Francois duPont opened a jewelry store. Twenty years later, he took it to Main Street.
In 1980, Francois’ son Noel took over the business. It was one of Westport’s go-to places for beautiful items, handsome watches, and of course that quick replacement watch strap or battery.
A few years ago, Noel moved around the corner to Sconset Square. “He lit up the square with his smile, and his weekly visits to each shop to check in,” says neighbor Tracey Heinemann. He was a constant and beloved presence — always accompanied by his Yorkie-poo Ollie.
Two weeks ago, Noel duPont died suddenly at home. He was 59 years old.
The Staples High School graduate had attended Berklee College of Music. A gifted drummer, he was passionate about the music of his idol, Frank Zappa. He also loved skiing, swimming and hiking in Maine.
He leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Julia, and sons Maxwell and Lucas.
A celebration of Noel’s life is set for Saturday, January 5 (Tavern on Main, 1 to 4 p.m.).
As is sometimes the case, a business cannot survive the death of its owner. Julia is liquidating Francois duPont Jewelers. This weekend and next, all jewelry is 50% off.
It’s a bittersweet time for Noel’s fellow merchants in Sconset Square. They’re busy preparing for next Thursday’s Holiday Stroll. From 5 to 8 p.m. on December 6, the popular shopping center on Myrtle Avenue — nestled between the Post Road, Christ & Holy Trinity and Church Lane — will be filled with holiday singers. The Little Red Waffle Truck will sell food. There are prizes too.
Each store has something special. Swoon offers festive English treats, and shows off seasonal floral deocrations. Bungalow serves aperitifs, along with tarot card readings. Bespoke Designs features champagne and savory snacks. Kerry Rosenthal has festive nibbles and toddies. Roots Salon gives discounts on artwork, and a chance to win a free service.
At Le Penguin there’s happy hour prices, complimentary bar bites, and singer Antoine Blech.
Of course, Francois duPont Jewelers will be open too — for one of its last days.
Amid all the merriment, his many friends will be thinking of the popular, ever-smiling, aptly named Noel duPont.