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Joseph Durham

Joseph ‘Joe’ Durham, age 59, of Aurora, NE, formerly of South Bay, CA, passed away on Saturday, May 21, 2016, at his home.

A Memorial Service will be held 10:30 A.M. Thursday, June 2nd at United Lutheran Church in Hampton, NE. Rev. Howard Rasmussen will officiate. Inurnment will be at United Lutheran Cemetery. Higby-McQuiston Mortuary in Aurora, NE, is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through the mortuary website at www.higbymortuary.com. Memorials may be made to the Plainsman Museum in Aurora, NE or the Stuhr Museum/Danish Church in Grand Island, NE.


Joseph Wesley Durham, the son of James and Thelma LaNelle (Dever) Durham, Sr., was born in Louisville, Kentucky on September 24, 1956 and passed away in Aurora, Nebraska on May 21, 2016, at the age of 59.

Joe’s family moved to California when he was an infant. He graduated from high school in Wilmington, California. Joe entered the U.S. Army, where he served in the 82nd Airborne Division for three years, part of that being in the Panama Canal. He was promoted to Sergeant at an early age of 17. After being honorably discharged he returned to California to work. Joe had a 35 year career at Pacific Bell/AT & T until his retirement on December 13, 2013.

On June 30, 2003, Joe married Sylvia Madsen at the Leadership Center in Aurora, Nebraska. The service was officiated by Rev. Floyd Lawson from First Lutheran Church of Torrance, CA. They moved back to Nebraska in December 2013.

Joe was an active member of First Lutheran Church in Torrance, California, where he was involved in many church activities and then became a member of United Lutheran Church in Hampton, NE.

Joe enjoyed his model railroads. He loved technology, computers and DVD movies. He helped coach his son’s T-ball teams in California and continued to do so for several years after. Joe performed volunteer work at the Plainsman Museum in Aurora, NE. He was a friend to all and a stranger to no one. Joe will be remembered for his love for his Lord, his love for Sylvia, his boundless energy prior to his illness and his enthusiasm for life.

He was preceded in death by his parents; grandfather, Winfrey Lee Durham; son, Seth Durham and brother, James Durham, Jr.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Sylvia of Aurora; daughter, Aimee Wilson of Abilene, Texas; grandmother, Catherine Durham of Georgia; two brothers, Eddie Durham of Las Vegas, Nevada and Earl Durham of Rancho Santa Margarita, California; half-sister; Cathy Wheeler of San Pedro, California; sister-in-law, Sherri Durham of Conway, Arkansas; several grandsons; mother-in-law, Georgialee Madsen of Aurora; sister-in-law, Linda Madsen of Hampton; brother-in-law, Karl Madsen of Palos Verdes Estate, California; numerous other family members and friends.

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