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James Frederick “Fred” Durr

SHERIDAN – James Frederick “Fred” Durr, age 99, of 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.
Fred 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 US 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, Fred married the love of his life, Marie Nicholson, from Sheridan.  They were wed at the East Union Christian Church.  Marie preceded him in death on March 10, 2015.
After the war ended, Fred and Marie 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. Fred 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 1977-1981. Fred served as a director from Indiana to the National Corn Growers Association and was also a member of the Pork Producers Association.  Governor 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 Fred 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.
Fred was recognized by many organizations including the 1967 Outstanding Farmer by the Sheridan JC’s, the 1982 Outstanding Alumnus by the 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, Fred 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.
Fred is survived by sons, James Douglas Durr (Debby) of Greentown and Mark Frederick Durr (Cindy) of Sheridan; daughters, Rebecca Ann McColgin (Bill) of Pittsford, N.Y., Barbara Jo Amos of Kokomo and Marsha Marie Hunt (Ken) of Westfield; six grandchildren, Kathleen Bower (Justin) of Houston, Texas, David McColgin (Jessica) of Seattle Wash., Andy Durr (Lauren) of Huntsville, Ala., Laura Durr of Indianapolis, Adam Durr of Sheridan and Steven Durr (Lauren) of Indianapolis; and five great-grandchildren, Lydia Bower, Adrian McColgin, Jeremiah Durr, Juliet Bower and Ryan McColgin.
Fred’s 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.
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.; and by his loving wife, Marie Durr.
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 Fred’s life may be planned for a later date.
Fred will be laid to rest at Union Cemetery in rural Hamilton County.  Rev. V.J. Stover will be officiating.
In lieu of flowers, 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.