Lindon "Doc" Durham, 84, passed away peacefully at his home in Three Forks, Mont. on August 28, 2014. Lin was born on March 12, 1930 at his granddad's ranch north of Belgrade, Mont. at Dry Creek. He graduated from Belgrade High School in 1948 and then attended Western Montana College and Montana State University where he played basketball at both. He left college to join the Navy at the start of Korean War in 1950.
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While Doc was stationed at the Naval Hospital in Great Lakes, Illinois, he met the love of his life, Betty Crom. Their first date was at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, and were soon married in September of 1954. They moved to Bozeman, where Lin finished his undergraduate studies at MSU.
The couple's adventure continued when Doc was accepted into Dental School at Northwestern University in downtown Chicago. Before moving back West, their first two children, Mick (1957) and Karen (1958), were born.
Lin opened his first practice in his one and only office in the summer of 1959. His office was located on Main Street in Three Forks where he happily worked for 37 years. Doc made many friendships through his work as a dentist, and many of his family members and friends have stories sitting in Doc Durham's chair. During those early years in Three Forks, Lin and Betty welcomed two more children into their family Laurie (1962) and Mark (1965) making them a family of 6.
Since their move in 1959, Doc was involved in the community in countless ways. He coached his sons in little league baseball, his daughters in softball, refereed high school basketball and umpired softball. He was a member of the school board and advocated for the New Gym and football field. Doc was also in Lion's Club, one of the original coaches of Little Wolves, a member of the Chamber, and many Booster clubs.
Doc's best days however, were spent with his family. He was always his children and grandchildren's number-one fan. The hours Doc spent in the bleachers are immeasurable. Doc could be seen wearing a Yankees, Bobcat, Western, Wolves or Diggers hat on any given day depending on which of his teams were playing or which of his kids or grandkids were playing that day. He also loved playing golf, and was one of the earliest members of the Riverside Golf Course.
Lin was preceded in death by his parents Harlan and Mae Durham. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Betty, children Mick (Donna Durham), Karen (Bill Buttelman), Laurie (Bill Mack), and Mark Durham, grandchildren Casey, Whitney, Shann, Carley, Mikaela, Shelby, Kalli, Kelsey, Shayla, Kobey, Shainy, and great grandson Paxson. He is also survived by his brother, Leo Durham and family, and brother-in-law Mike Crom.
Lin was one of a kind and a genuinely nice man who will be greatly missed by many. He was the kind of man that could be counted on for endless love and support, and he took great pride in his family. Not only did the Yankees and Bobcats lose a great fan, but so did each member of the Durham family, as Papa was always available to share some encouraging words and wisdom no matter the endeavors of his family.
The celebration of his life will be held, Wednesday, September 3, 2014, at 4 p.m. in the afternoon in the Three Forks High School Gymnasium. In honor of a great fan, if you would like, please dress in Wolves, Western, Bobcat, Diggers, or Yankee attire (or other team apparel if you have too) in remembrance of a man who wore many hats. We love you, Papa!
K & L Mortuaries
103 1st Ave E
Three Forks, MT 59752
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 31, 2014