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Kenneth Isaac Durr

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Kenneth Isaac Durr Obituary
Kenneth Isaac Durr

July 4, 1916

August 22, 2012

A member of The Greatest Generation, Kenneth loved life, family, friends, teaching, his country and his church. Son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, in-law, cousin and uncle are family roles he enjoyed over a long and productive life that lasted almost a century. Born in Natchitoches Parish, Marthaville, Louisiana, to Travis Wright and Amanda Mallett Durr, Kenneth was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved grandparents Isaac and Emily Knott Mallett and William Rufus and Lucinda (Cindy) Melvina Dykes Durr; his brother Travis Wright Durr, Jr.; sisters and brothers-in-law Henry and Rommeiss Durr Gamble, C.D. and Joyce Durr Hendricks, and W.R. and Doris Durr Berry; mother-in-law Elvera Ebarb Procell; brothers-in-law Chester Davis, Jerome Helmstetter and Frank Polk; son-in-law Troy Lilly and infant twin grandchildren Violet and Brian Taylor. Kenneth died August 22, 2012.

Immediate family survivors include his wife of fifty-five years, Gloria Ebarb Durr; children and spouses John and Dolores Durr Basden, Stephen and Amy Durr, David and Katherine Durr, Juliana Durr Lilly, and Susan Durr Taylor; and, grandchildren Rebecca Lilly, Travis, Emily, William, and Laura Durr, Emma and Cara Jones and Jessica Taylor. Extended family survivors include sisters-in-law Marie Polk, Patricia Helmstetter, Eloise Davis, brother-in-law Patrick Ebarb, goddaughter Sarah Carter, and a multitude of cousins, nieces, nephews and their families.

After graduating from Marthaville High School as one of 18 graduates in the Class of 1933, Kenneth became the first member of his family to graduate from college, earning a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State Normal College, now Northwestern State University, in 1939; a master's degree from Peabody College; and, a doctorate from Indiana University in 1963. He was an outstanding educator for over 50 years, teaching students at public and private high schools in Louisiana and Connecticut; college students at Northwestern State and Northeast State in Louisiana, Texas Woman's University and Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas; and, U.S. Army personnel in the early days of World War II. Already a full Professor at Northwestern State, he accepted the rank of Associate Professor at SFA in order to accompany the family's move to Texas; without hesitation, he promptly wrote a textbook, fulfilled other requirements, and earned the rank of full Professor for the second time. Over the course of a productive lifetime, numerous recognitions have attested to his skill in teaching, but the initiative and generosity of accounting students who graduated more than fifty years ago to fund a $100,000 Kenneth I. Durr Accounting Professorship for Northwestern State University speaks volumes about student respect, admiration, and classroom excellence. There can be no doubt that his contributions made a profound impact on the success and lives of those early Northwestern students.

Married for fifty-five years, father of five accomplished children, and proud grandpa of eight promising grandchildren, he lived his life as a role model for both children and grandchildren. He treasured his membership in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and set an example of service that few can equal. From little league baseball coach to Nacogdoches Kiwanis Club President and Kiwanis District Lt. Governor, from community blueberry picking to selling tickets and flipping pancakes, supporting and transporting Key Clubbers and initiating a Kiwanis group for seniors, Kenneth served his community in many ways. He was honored to be recognized as a George F. Hixson Fellow and to receive the very first L.D. Pate Service Award from his fellow Kiwanians.

Born in a small village in northwest Louisiana during World War I, Kenneth was destined to serve his country during the giant conflict of World War II. Drafted by the United States Army in November 1941, his expected "one year" of service expanded until December 1945. His rank changed from "draftee" to "Captain" during his years of active duty; reserve officer status, summer camps and untold hours of correspondence courses resulted in his retirement in July 1976 as Lt. Colonel, United States Army. During his war service, he witnessed history, transiting through Northern Ireland, Scotland and England, landing at Omaha Beach in Normandy on June 18, 1944, 12 days after the initial D-Day Invasion, moving with the Third Army through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, assisting at the Buchenwald concentration camp after it was liberated by the Third Army, helping to establish American cemeteries in France and Holland, and entering Berlin just days after the Nazi surrender. During the Battle of the Bulge and under fire, the unit he commanded assisted in the effort, receiving a commendation for bravery. For the rest of his long life, he had the utmost respect for the many fallen American servicemen he buried as an officer with Graves Registration. Unselfish service to mankind, family and country designate Lt. Col. Durr as an outstanding and patriotic member of America's Finest and Greatest Generation.

The vast group comprising the Durr/Mallett/Ebarb families, friends, former students, acquaintances, "old soldiers," hospital staffs, caregivers, and people encountered in random and remote places all recognized Kenneth as an outgoing person who was genuinely interested in people. He especially loved children, and in his later years, no child ever left his presence without a dollar coin in his or her pocket. Love, respect and honor are due a man who was a survivor, son, brother, husband, father, Grandpa, uncle, neighbor, citizen, teacher, Kiwanian, church-goer, friend, patriot, and above all, a SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Sacred Heart Catholic Church for the restoration of the 1847 church, or to the .

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 pm Saturday, August 25, 2012, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Nacogdoches. Interment will follow at Oak Grove Cemetery with full Military Honors being presented. Condolences may be offered at

Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors (936) 564-7333

Published in Shreveport Times from Aug. 24 to Aug. 25, 2012
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