Gerald L. Durnell
Gerald L. Durnell

Gerald L. Durnell, 69, died Monday evening, May 23, 2011, after a courageous bout with cancer. He was the husband of Kaye Bowles-Durnell.

Gerry was born April 27, 1942 in Santa Paula, California. He was a graduate of Southwest Missouri University in Springfield, MO. He worked his way through college as a rock and roll DJ, a TV cameraman, and as an announcer for the Ozark Jubilee.

During the Vietnam War, while serving as a U.S. Army captain, he flew more than 180 reconnaissance missions before his plane was hit by a SAM missile.

Upon his return to Springfield, he served three terms in the Missouri House of Representatives.

He moved to Santa Claus, Indiana to be creative director for Abby Press, then went into the pizza business. That experience gave him the inspiration to found Pizza Today magazine and the international trade show, Pizza Expo, in 1984. After he moved to Louisville in 1992, he and his wife, Kaye, built this into the world's most expensive food trade show, then sold the company to Sterling MacFadden Publishing.

Gerry's next ventures were the purchase of the magazine, Automobile Quarterly, and the development of oceanfront land in Sayulita, Mexico, a small fishing village north of Puerto Vallarta, and the more recent purchases of Automobile Events magazine and John Galt Bindery.

A multi-dimensional thinker, his college majors were pre-med and fine art. As an entrepreneur, publisher, inventor, tinkerer, writer, and voracious reader, he was most happy when off on a new venture, such as a recently started development in Curitiba, Brazil, or when recharging at Villa del Oso (House of the Bear) their Mexico home.

Gerry is also survived by his three children, Meranie Skari (Dan), John C. Durnell (Rona), and Amber Katherine Storm (Jeff) and seven grandchildren, Joshua Durnell, Tayleur Durnell, Christian Skari, Tristan Durnell, Brooke Durnell, Miriam Skari, and Abigail Storm.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Homer and Lucille Van Hoosier Durnell, his brother Jack, and his nephew Dustin.

A celebration of Gerry's life will be held at the Pendennis Club, 218 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. at 4:00 P.M. , Wednesday, June 1.

Memorial gifts made be made to the Heuser Hearing Institute or the American Saddlebred Museum.

Published by News-Leader on May 27, 2011.
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15 Entries
Last week marked the tenth year since Gerry's passing and the tenth year of "The Bear" award to deserving artists exhibiting at the Keeneland Concours de' Elegance in Lexington, KY. Founded and still produced by Tom and Connie Jones. Automotive art is the graphic epitome of automotive design. The Bear recognized this, supported it, and rewarded those who excelled in the discipline. The annual awards will continue in his memory. Thank you Bear.
jim cox
August 16, 2021
Did I really never sign this? So sorry. I first knew Gerry when we were rock DJ's at KICK, the Sporty 1340 in Springfield, MO. I later followed his career, as a Missouri State Representative, and mover and shaker behind the Pizza Expo. I reconnected when he got into publishing and real estate. Annabelle and I had a wonderful visit to their Mexican properties. We miss Gerry and cherish the lovely Kaye.
Jim Bohannon
April 26, 2020
Dear Kaye,
I am so very sad to hear of Gerry's passing. You and Gerry opened the door for me at Pizza Expo and for that I will always be appreciative. I know that if love could have saved him, he would have lived forever.
With care,
Carol Hacker
Carol Hacker
June 24, 2011
I am saddended by your loss.
Gerry and I go back to the early '70's when he did so much to inspire me and help promote my work. He will always have a special place in my memories. I am keeping you in my thoughts with kindest regards.
Bob Linder
May 31, 2011
We have lost a wonderful person and truly my brother for life. Bonna and I extend our condolences to Kaye and the Durnell family.
Patrick O'Toole
Kappa Alpha Order
(and roommate)
Missouri State University "65"
Patrick & Bonna O'Toole
May 30, 2011
Kaye-Mart, Maranie, John, Amber and your famiies;

It was indeed sad and shocking to learn of Gerry's passing.

From the earliest years of Catering Expo and Pizza Expo through the clearing out and remodelling of the notorious "Bear Barn" we shared a multitude of expereiences; - - no two alike. That's the way it was when you worked with "The Bear".

By example, there was the jointly endorsed idea of purchasing a catering operation in LV when we were both chronically short of funds. Just before we got in deep enough to float our hats, Kaye, as customary, came to the rescue by setting her foot down with enough force to register 8+ on the Richter scale.

There was the tije when we crammed three truck loads of kitchen equipment into every corner of "Tweety" and then bluffed, begged, bribed and cajoled our way to the half constructed Villa del Oso in Sayulita.

It is with fond memories and deepest gratitude that I recall being invited and included in the Durnell family gourmet dinners at Four Seasons and at the family center Gerry and Kaye lovingly branded "Tranquiity".

I extend to all of you have my deepest and most profound sympathy and condolences. Gerry was a meaningful and memorable chapter in my life.
May 30, 2011
Kaye, John and the Durnell Family,
Although I knew Gerry for a short few years, I cherished my time with him.
Gerry was always filled with enthusiasm, ideas and a vision for what could be.
I will miss him and the light he shined on all things good.
David and Deborah Morrison
David Morrison
May 29, 2011
Kaye, we are so sorry to learn about the passing of Gerry. You two were so special together. We fondly remember the wonderful Christmas parties you both hosted. Our thoughts are with you. Betsy Semonin and George Leighninger
Betsy Leighninger
May 29, 2011
Working with Gerry and the crew at Pizza Today magazine in New Albany was a memorable life experience due to Gerry’s keeping us hopping with his diverse interests and bold pursuits that added spice to our monthly publishing grind. A genuine entrepreneur, he possessed unbounded enthusiasm and drive, always juggling at least a half dozen projects. His sundry collections of “stuff” often acquired at auctions by the truckload and stored in a wonderland of warehouses promised new ventures on the horizon. We marveled at his early morning creativity, always many steps ahead of the workaday world. He was the embodiment of the U.S. Army recruiting slogan: “We do more before 9:00 a.m. than most people do all day.”
Jim Reed
May 28, 2011
Kaye and the Durnell family,
Linda joins me in extending our heartfelt condolences for your loss. Gerry was truly one of the most interesting people we've ever met. From our days so long ago in Kappa Alpha, it was apparent he was going to make a mark in this world. May he rest in peace.

Mike and Linda Collier
Mike Collier
May 28, 2011
The father of my wife Amber, Gerry was a remarkable man of extraordinary achievement, yet admirably humble. He and Kaye were truly a wonderful team to watch. The fond memories of Gerry's wit, creativity and tireless work ethic will live on eternally in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved him. He will be missed. Godspeed for healing our troubled spirits as we make peace with his early departure.
Jeff Storm
May 28, 2011
I worked only briefly with Gerry but I was touched by his genuine enthusiasm. I’m sure he made the same impression with everyone. My thoughts and prayers are with his family as they embrace and comfort each other during their sorrow.
Wanda Heath
May 27, 2011
Kaye and the Durnell Family,

Out of the raging storms, I am thinking of you and your family every day draped in sadness and sorrow in the loving memory of your loved one. I lost my mother six years ago, so I understand your sadness and heaviness. May your heavy hearts and sorrows be comforted with strength, peace, and joy. If you need me, I am here.
Antoinette Taylor
May 27, 2011
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Deborah Shank
May 27, 2011
The world has lost a very unique and inspiring man who will be greatly missed by many. My thoughts and prayers go out to Kaye and his children during this difficult time.
Denise Baskett-Hall
May 27, 2011
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