BELLEVUE, Wash. - Cindy Durham (nee Marcene Louan Renken), age 94, passed away from natural causes on Jan. 22, 2021, in Bellevue, Wash., having lived life to its fullest. Cindy was born and raised on a farm near Talmage, Neb. With her father's encouragement, she traveled to Lincoln to study at the Sophy Teeter School of Nursing with the goal of becoming a flight attendant. She proudly served in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, becoming a registered nurse in 1948 and keeping current with educational requirements her whole life. While working as a nurse, she met Leonard ("Len") E. Durham, the love of her life, who became an officer in the U.S. Air Force. They were married for 65 years until Len's passing in 2012. Being a military wife suited Cindy, pursuing her lifelong passion for travel. Together they served tours across the world, including Japan, France, California, Hawaii and D.C. In 2007, they moved to the Nolen Shores Condos in Madison to be near their son and his spouse and children, to help with Quarra Stone Company, their son's business and to attend Edgewood High School sporting events. In 2015, Cindy moved to Washington State to be closer to her daughters and grandchildren. Cindy visited all 50 statesand all seven continents and meticulously documented her travels. Her children and grandchildren continue her legacy of travel.
Cindy's homes were tastefully designed with touches of Japanese and French culture. In Fairfax, Va., she won many Surrey Square holiday decoration awards. She hosted exchange students and corresponded with friends from all over the world.
Cindy was very active in her children's lives, providing them with the opportunities she never had on the farm. Her children achieved the highest scouting honors, were encouraged to learn musical instruments and pursue higher education. Cindy was the original "soccer mom," rooting for her children, grandchildren, and their teammates.
Cindy worked as a volunteer at the White House Correspondence Office for 37 years under seven different administrations, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush. Coming from a small Nebraska farm, she never dreamed of having lunch in the East Room, participating in the White House Easter Egg Rolls and greeting dignitaries.
She was modest, hardworking, polite, well dressed, and an engaging conversationalist. She test drove sports cars, loved dogs, celebrated birthdays with enthusiasm, and laughed often! She loved her grandchildren unconditionally, and they were devoted to her. Cindy touched many lives and will be greatly missed by all.
Cindy is survived by her three children, Kay of Oregon, James (Cathy) of Wisconsin, and Ann of Washington; five grandchildren, Ashley, Drake, Aleah, Lincoln and Renna; four great-grandchildren, Rowan, Anna, Clark and Claire; her sister, Joan Larsen and her husband, Lee, of Nebraska; her beloved friends, Bill and Ginny Kieran; her godsons, Chris, Brian and their families; and her petite golden-doodle, Bentley. She is predeceased by her husband, Len; and her grandson, Nathan ("Nate") Cowan.
Cindy will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery next to Len.
Memorials are suggested to PAWS or UNMC College of Nursing.