Nicholas Paul Van Durme

DANSVILLE - Nicholas Paul Van Durme, lifelong resident and civic leader in Dansville, passed away on Saturday (Sept. 21, 2013). (OK, he made a brief foray to the warmer climates, but ultimately realized that Dansville is "God's Country" and he and Anne returned to their roots.) Nick was 85 years young.

Nick was one of 11 children of Henry and Clara Van Durme and leaves five of his brothers and sisters behind. After a tour in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s and a short stint with the Goodyear Tire Company, Nick opened and managed the Outdoor Store and Sportown in downtown Dansville for nearly 30 years. 

Many will recall Nick's smiling presence on Main Street and his frequent short-cuts through the Coffee Cup as he made his way between the Outdoor Store and Sportown-nearly always taking the time for a quick cup of coffee with his many friends in town.  He was frequently referred to as "Mr. Main Street." During his brief southern sojourn, Nick continued his retail career at stores in Florida and Virginia before returning to Dansville to retire.

In addition to his mercantile prowess, Nick was very active in the local community. His many contributions include active membership in the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Dansville Central School Board, and Boy Scouts of America-including president/chairman positions in each of those organizations.

He was a Zoning Officer and actively supported St. Mary's Parish, Easter Seals, Red Cross, United Fund, and the Dansville Hospital Fund. He was member of the American Legion.

He was selected as the Dansville Jaycee Man of the Year in 1971. Since his retirement, Nick has made it his personal responsibility for providing affordable housing for bluebirds in the Dansville area, building and maintaining hundreds of bluebird houses.

Nick's real legacy is his wife of 62 years, their 10 children, and more than 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (With so many, it has always been a challenge to get a fix on the actual count on any given day.) Along with Anne, Nick's real joy in life was raising a large family and instilling in them a sense of service, honesty and courage along with a love of life, faith, the great outdoors … and each other. 

Camping, hunting, fishing, hiking and frequent rides in the country were perpetual components of life with the Van Durme clan. And yes, when they went camping they managed to get all 12, plus the camping gear into … or onto the family station wagon. 

They usually made it back home with everything they left with … sometimes extra wildlife came back home … sometimes clothes and gear was lost along the journey. Nick and Anne wouldn't have had it any other way.

Nick leaves behind his wife Anne, and his 10 children Nora, Jean, Michael (Mary), Clare, Mark (Margie), Thomas (Lori), Matthew, Daniel (Patricia), Rachel (Matthew), and Patrick. He is also survived by his brothers and sisters, Margaret, Richard, Philip, Loretta, and Lawrence. His grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and in-laws number in the hundreds.

The family requests the courtesy of no flowers, please make a donation to the Sisters of Saint Joseph Kitchen Table Ministry, noting that the donation is in memory of "Nicholas Van Durme – Kitchen Table Ministry."  They can be found online at:

The family will be holding an Open House visitation and viewing at 38 Jefferson St, Dansville, on Friday, (Sept. 27, 2013) from 1-4 and 6-9p.m. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary's Church, Elizabeth St., Dansville at 11 a.m. on Saturday (Sept. 28, 2013). Ref. Hindle Funeral Home, Inc. 271 Main St., Dansville. 

Online remembrances may be left at

Funeral Home

Hindle Funeral Home
271 Main Street Dansville, NY 14437

Published in Hornell Evening Tribune on Sept. 24, 2013