Leon Sebring Dure III

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Leon Sebring Dure III, 83, Franklin Professor (emeritus) of Biochemistry at the University of Georgia, Colonel (ret) United States Marine Corps (Reserves), died peacefully in his sleep, Sunday, May 11 at St. Mary's Hospice House. Born January 19, 1931 in Macon, GA, he was the son of Leon Sebring Dure Jr. and Katherine Mackin Dure, who preceded him in death, along with his brother, Kendrick Dure.
He spent his early childhood years in Richmond, VA where he attended St. Christopher's School and then grew up on his beloved home, East Belmont Farm, Keswick, VA. He graduated from the Woodberry Forest School, Orange, VA and attended the University of Virginia where he received a bachelor's degree in philosophy. He was a member of St. Anthony Hall. Following graduation, he served as a United States Marine Corps officer in the mountains of Korea during the Korean War. After returning to the United States, and heeding his father's advice to become a scientist, he turned his attention to plant biology and earned a master's degree in plant embryology from the University of Virginia. He continued his education at the University of Texas where he received his PhD in plant physiology. Hired by the University of Georgia in 1960, he came to Athens as a post doctoral fellow. His career of research and teaching graduate biochemistry spanned 44 years. His contributions to the development of plant molecular biology were recognized globally.
An article appearing in an October 1985 issue of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported: "When the International Society for Plant Molecular Biology was established in 1984, Leon Dure was elected its first president. Dure brought Georgia international attention by organizing the First International Congress of the ISPMB in Savannah. As chairman and chief officer of the Congress, Dure will be host to nearly all of the world's leading plant molecular biologists. The more than 1,700 pre-registered, include scientists from 33 countries.
"…He has strived to do fundamental research on important problems of our time, asserting that 'the difference between people is the level at which they are satisfied with an answer.' Dure reaches for the deeper meaning. His contributions to plant molecular biology and the University of Georgia reflect these qualities in the man." He remained financial officer of the ISPMB until his retirement.
A philosopher, historian, professor, libertarian, scientist, soldier and pantheist, believing all things living were divine, he was most of all, the consummate Southern gentleman. He was perhaps most proud of his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. He remained in the Marine Corps Reserves for decades, achieving the rank of Colonel before retiring.
He is survived by his wife, Margarett (Meg) Gunn Dure; three sons, Davis Oakford Dure (Lucy Ann), Philadelphia, PA; Dr. Leon Sebring Dure IV (Romy Albin), Birmingham, AL; Preston (Beau) Kendrick Dure (Jen), Vienna, VA; and a daughter,
Jane Rankin Dure, San Antonio, TX. Also surviving are five grandchildren; two step-children, Frank Booker McGriff, Athens; and Margarett Gunn McGriff McIntosh (William), Savannah, one step-grandson; and his longtime caregiver, Mrs. Belinda Lee.
At his request no memorial service will be held. Memorials may be sent to St. Mary's Hospice House, P.O. Box 6588, Athens, GA 30604, or the Wounded Warriors Project.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on May 12, 2014
Arrangements under the direction of:
Bernstein Funeral Home and Cremation Services
3195 Atlanta Highway | Athens, GA 30606 | (706) 543-7373
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