(1934 - 2003)
Mary Lou Durkee
(1935 - 2009)
Larry Durkee and his wife, Mary Lou, were excellent friends to UAH. Many of you never met them, but the students who did know they owe them a great debt. Larry and Mary Lou have been very generous with UAH and its students for years. Larry would attend classes to share how he had taught himself how to invest in stocks, converting a modest nest-egg into a small fortune. He was generous with his time, his knowledge, and his funds.
I personally will miss our fascinating lunches where we talked about business, stocks, the movers and shakers of Huntsville, and Huntsville's history. As I hear about business news, I find myself wondering what Larry would think of that. But, unfortunately, I cannot call him up to ask him.
The photo to the right shows Nathan Bowen (finance alumni, hockey captain, and student body president), me, and Larry Durkee at the reception after Larry received his honorary doctorate in May 2000.
Mary Lou and Larry were both keen supporters of UAH athletics. Mary Lou was a season ticket holder for the basketball team and rarely missed a game. She often traveled to watch the basketball games and tournaments. She enjoyed watching Coach Acuff's intense game style.
I will miss Mary Lou's outgoing personality and joy in living.
Larry Durkee's obituary from the Huntsville Times:
"Larry Lee Durkee, 68, of Huntsville, died Thursday.
"Mr. Durkee was awarded a doctor of science degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) at the spring commencement ceremony at 2 p.m., May 14, 2000 at the Von Braun Center. Larry has played a prominent role at UAH for more than 20 years. For nearly 10 years Durkee has served on the UAH Foundation Trustee Board. He was a member of the UAH Foundation Investment Committee and the hockey and basketball booster club. Not only generous with his time, Durkee and his wife, Mary Lou, have been major financial contributors at UAH, supporting men's and women's sports. [My addition: they also support UAH academics.]
"Durkee has distinguished himself as a leader in Huntsville professional and community organizations. For many years, he has served on the board of directors for numerous companies, including Digital Engineering, General Digital, Panalogic Inc., and Sector Research Inc. He has also served a term as vice president of the community organization, High Technology Foundation. Durkee served on the UAH College of Administrative Science Advisory Committee and UAH Foundation Board. He has been a self-employed investor since 1980. In 1998, he was inducted in the Charger Hall of Honor at the highest level as a Gold Award recipient. He was a member of the Order of DeMolay and the Boy Scouts of America.
"Survivors include his wife, Mary Lou Quimby Durkee; brother, Ronald Durkee of Camas, Washington; sister, Sandra Durkee Rippentrop of Seattle, Washington....
"Memorials may be made to UAH Men's Basketball program."
Comments from some of the students who knew him:
Jay Woodcroft (Class of 2001). "It deeply saddens me to learn of Larry Durkee's death. You are quite right when you say how many lives he affected at UAH. I am personally grateful for his sound advice and leadership; two important qualities that the Capital Management Group benefited greatly from. More than that, he was a genuinely sincere person who was always willing to listen and talk."
Ross Comeaux (Class of 1998). "I am very disappointed to hear the news. I still remember all of the times he spoke to our finance classes and to our TVA investment group. I am sure all students who have met him will miss him dearly as a person and a teacher."
Kenny Patterson (Class of 1998) wrote in a letter supporting Larry's nomination for the honorary doctorate: "Larry Durkee is greatly responsible for launching my career as a financial professional. As I continue to learn and progress in my career, I have yet to meet his equal amongst my peers....How do you begin to thank such a man? Any gift that I could give him can never compare to what he has given me. He's furthered my education and given me a start in my chosen field....Larry would say, in response to any attempts to thank him, 'Aah Kenny it's my pleasure, I'm just glad I could help.' Well, thank you Larry Durkee and the pleasure is mine...."
Mary Lou's obituary is below:
Quimby Durkee, 74, of Huntsville passed away Friday.