James Frederick “Fred” Durr, 99, Sheridan, passed away on Tuesday morning, Nov. 24, 2020 at Riverview Hospital in Noblesville following a brief illness.
Born Aug. 23, 1921 in Indianapolis, he was the son of the late James Frank and Ina (Miller) Durr.
Mr. Durr spent most of his life in rural Sheridan. He was a 1939 graduate of Sheridan High School where he had the honor of serving as president of his graduating class. He continued with his education at Purdue University before enlisting in the Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force) during WW II. After graduating from Officer Candidate School, he continued his training at the Bombardier / Navigator school. He spent most of his years in the Air Corps stationed in Texas, serving his country as a bombardier instructor.
On Oct. 8, 1943, Mr. Durr married the love of his life, Marie Nicholson from Sheridan. They were wed at the East Union Christian Church. Mrs. Durr preceded him in death on March 10, 2015.
After the war ended, Mr. and Mrs. Durr returned to Sheridan to begin farming, and quickly became active in many farm-related organizations. He was an advocate for farmers’ interests and livelihoods, while at the same time being a staunch promoter of soil and water conservation. He played a key role in establishing the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, serving as a board supervisor for many years. Throughout the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, he was active in the various agencies that administered federal farm programs. He was elected to the Hamilton County Association of Farmer Elected Committeemen, and through the years would serve as the association’s president at the county, state, and national levels. He was also a member of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) Committee, serving for three consecutive terms as their elected chairman. He was chairman of the Indiana (ASCS) Committee from 1977-81. Mr. Durr served as a director from Indiana to the National Corn Growers Association and was also a member of the Pork Producers Association. Indiana Gov. Otis Bowen appointed Mr. Durr to the Grain Product Research Council for their 1975-76 session. He also served as a director of the Federal Land Bank Association of Tipton.
One of the things he enjoyed the most about being a part of these organizations was the opportunity to get to know farmers from all over Indiana and many other states. Most recently, he had served on the Hamilton County Tax Assessment Board of Appeals.
Mr. Durr was recognized by many organizations including: the 1967 Outstanding Farmer by the Sheridan Jaycees, the 1982 Outstanding Alumnus by Marion-Adams (Sheridan) High School, the 1980 Administrator’s Award for Service to Agriculture for Distinguished Individual Achievement given by the Indiana State (ASCS) Committee, the 1995 Master Farmer of the Year from the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, as well as a distinguished service certificate in 1996. In 1978, Mr. Durr had the distinct honor of being commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Julian Carroll.
He was an active member of the Sheridan First Christian Church for many years. He had recently been attending both the Sheridan First Christian Church and the East Union Christian Church.
His children often heard comments about what a good, kind, and gentle man their father was. They know that to be true. He served as a wonderful example of a life well-lived.
Survivors include two sons, James Douglas (Debby) Durr of Greentown and Mark Frederick (Cindy) Durr of Sheridan; three daughters, Rebecca Ann (Bill) McColgin of Pittsford, N.Y., Barbara Jo Amos of Kokomo and Marsha Marie (Ken) Hunt of Westfield; six grandchildren, Kathleen (Justin) Bower of Houston, Texas, David (Jessica) McColgin of Seattle Wash., Andy (Lauren) Durr of Huntsville, Ala., Laura Durr of Indianapolis, Adam Durr of Sheridan, and Steven (Lauren) Durr of Indianapolis; and five great-grandchildren, Lydia Bower, Adrian McColgin, Jeremiah Durr, Juliet Bower and Ryan McColgin.
Other than his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents; son-in-law, Tom Amos; brothers-in-law, Charles Nicholson and wife Edith, Harlan Nicholson and wife Carolyn, Perry Nicholson and Harold “Shorty” Nicholson; sisters-in-law, Helen Harbaugh and husband J. Russell and Mary Cupp and husband Jason J.
The family would like to thank the medical professionals and staff members of Riverview Hospital in Noblesville for the care that Mr. Durr received during the last weeks of his life.
Private family services are being held at this time.
A public celebration of life may be planned for a later date.
Mr. Durr will be laid to rest at Union Cemetery in rural Hamilton County. The Rev. V.J. Stover will be officiating.
Memorial contributions may be presented to the Sheridan First Christian Church, or to the Sheridan Public Library.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Kercheval Funeral Home in Sheridan.