Jan. 5, 1924 – April 29, 2022
“He made his last cast, pulled in the trolling motor, cranked up the outboard and is heading home.”
Clarence Nathan “Nate” Durham, 98, of Houston, passed on to his next adventure April 29, 2022, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Haynesville Jan. 5, 1924, the son of the late Clarence Neal Durham and Gladys Marie Crocker. His parents and grandparents were from pioneering families in Winn Parish.
He is survived by two daughters, Susan Butler and Catherine Ellis of Houston; one son, Carl A. Durham and daughter-in-law Pam of Baytown, Texas; 16 grandchildren and their spouses; 20 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly.
He was preceded in death by daughters, Naylyn G. Durham Dill of Jena and Carol M. Durham of Pasadena, Texas; former spouse, Ruthmary Anderson Durham Goldman of Houston; and siblings, Carlton McIlwain Durham, Dorotha Marie “Dot” Moore and Walter Glynn Durham.
Nate graduated from New London High School in East Texas in 1940, having survived the horrendous explosion and loss of life that was mourned throughout the world in 1937. He graduated from Northwestern State University in 1948 with degrees in chemistry and mathematics. Nate was on the tennis team, played clarinet and was a Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity member.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and was sent to pre-midshipman officer training school at Louisiana Tech, where he completed two semesters of additional academic coursework. He then attended Midshipman School at Cornell University, where he got his commission as an Ensign Naval reserve officer.
Nate had three distinct careers, the first being his service during WWII and the Korean War. He spent 1943-63 in the U.S. Navy, with 5 and one-half years in active duty and 14 and one-half years in active reserve duty, including as officer in charge of Naval Intelligence while based in Houston, with training duties in San Francisco, New York and Washington. He retired as Lt. Commander after 20 years of active service.
He began a 20-year career in law enforcement in 1947, joining the U.S. Customs Service as a chemist in New Orleans after scoring fourth on the national U.S. Civil Service exam for analytical chemists. He then served as Special Agent in Charge and was based in Port Arthur, Texas, retiring as Assistant Supervising Agent, Houston office.
Nate’s third career, Outdoors with Nate Durham, capitalized on his lifelong love of travel, writing and photography. From 1970 – 2007, he served as the editor and principal photographer of Texas Outdoor Guide, wrote columns for over 20 newspapers throughout North America, and through his photography work, promoted tourism for the northern states of Mexico. Nate served as Outdoor Editor for the Winn Parish Enterprise and the Pasadena News Citizen, considering them his home papers. Over the years, he wrote columns for the Natchitoches Times, Madison Journal of Tallulah, the Ouachita Citizen of West Monroe and the Alexandria Daily Town Talk. He was a member of the Outdoor Writers Association. His careers are noted in a book published for the family in 2008: A Busy Life. https://www.dropbox.com/s/y8tvujogju5w66w/NateDurham-ABusyLife.pdf?dl=0
Nate was raised in a large, extended family that loved the Lord and he was a founding member of Burke Road Church of Christ in Pasadena, Texas. Nate shared this love through hosting many experiences at his beloved Saline Lake home, Durham’s Camp, in Winn Parish and throughout Louisiana, Colorado and Arkansas with kids in Boys Harbor, numerous church youth groups, the Sunshine Kids and their parents and many other organizations over the years. He believed that “the secret is in the sharing.”
A memorial service was at Parkgate Community Church, 3715 Preston Road, Pasadena, May 12. A family celebration of Nate’s life was May 28 at the Durham Family Reunion at Durham Camp on Saline Lake, Winnfield.
Instead of flowers, the family wishes to recognize his involvement in and love for the following organizations. Donations may be made in memory of Nate Durham to the Sunshine Kids Foundation at https://www.sunshinekids.org/donate.html or Boys and Girls Harbor, Inc. at https://todaysharborforchildren.org/donate/.