April 17, 1953 - Nov. 18, 2020
Jim Durham passed away peacefully after a valiant battle with health issues over many years. There will be no memorial service at this time, and a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Jim was born on a military base in Okinawa, Japan. He spent his formative years in Alaska, where his father was a Civil Engineer at a military base, and Maine, at his maternal grandparents' home. He ultimately moved to Texas at the age of 14 where he would spend the balance of his life. In his early career, Jim was a master electrician. Later he managed commercial buildings for Crescent Real Estate and Rosewood Properties in Dallas.
It was there he met his sweetheart, Maggie McCarthy, and began a 25-year partnership and marriage. Together, they moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, for four years and ultimately settled in Waco, Texas. With no "skyscrapers" to manage, he embarked on a new profession, ensuring commercial buildings are accessible to the disabled. He spent almost 17 years as a Texas Registered Accessibility Specialist and set up his own company, The Accessibility Professionals, and became an asset to local builders and owners as a guide to inclusive real estate development. Because of this expertise, he was appointed to the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities.
Despite a rare spinal cord condition that left him partially paralyzed 11 years ago, he was a model of resilience. In addition to his professional work to assist the disabled, he was personally involved as a board president for the Heart of Central Texas Independent Living Center. Other volunteer experience include a 10-year stint as a tax preparer for the AARP Tax-Aide Foundation, a free service to the elderly and disabled. He was beloved by many friends who often had the pleasure of joining him on camping adventures to Big Bend, and sailing Texas lakes. Jim and Maggie loved to travel, and despite the challenges of a wheelchair, they took on trains, planes and buses to many far-flung places.
He was preceded in death by his father, William Durham; mother, Una Caron Durham; and his brother, William Durham, Jr. In addition to his wife, survivors include his daughter, Misty Taylor and husband, Bob, and grandaughter, Riley Rice; as well as four sisters and their spouses: Rose Bivona, Carol Crawford, Sarah and Wally Richardson, and Jane and Pat Howell; and many nieces, nephews and extended family. His kind and gentle spirit will live on in all who fondly knew him and will remember his catchy sign off…"Love you, mean it!"
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Published by Waco Tribune-Herald from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2020.