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Gordon Benson Durham



A funeral services will be held for Gordon Benson Durham at 1 p.m., Saturday August 18, in the Bonneville 6th ward building at 1289 E 300 S in Provo, Utah. Family and friends may visit before the service from 11:45-12:45 p.m. at the church. Interment will be in the Denmark Cemetery in Denmark, Ore. 

Gordon was born Aug. 23, 1929 in Long Beach, Calif., the son of Thomas Thompson Durham and Ellen LaVerne Benson. He passed away Aug. 13, 2018 in Provo, Utah, surrounded by family.

Gordon was the second of four children born to Thomas and LaVerne. His older half-sister, Jessie, helped raise him upon his mother’s death in 1932. In 1947, he graduated from Narbonne High School, just a few months after his father passed away. He attended Harbor Junior College, California State University in Fullerton, and California State University in Long Beach, earning three years of college credit. He married the love of his life, Enid Larsen, Oct. 5, 1950. Their marriage was solemnized in the LDS temple in Mesa, Ariz. They raised six children and had been married just short of 65 years when Enid passed away in 2015.

Gordon was drafted into the United States Army January 1951 and served for two years. He completed his basic training at Camp Roberts, Calif., after which he trained as an army cook. He served in Korea as a mess sergeant, where he was assigned to a SCARWAF (Special Category Army Reassigned With Air Force) unit based in Taegu, feeding the troops who were building airstrips.

Shortly after returning home from military service, Gordon went to work for Union Oil Company of California. He worked for UNOCAL for almost 35 years, and during that time, he was transferred to a variety of locations including Los Angeles, Calif., Seattle, Wash., and Rawlins, Wyom. When Gordon retired in 1988, he and Enid moved to Bedford, Wyom., to enjoy a more peaceful and slower pace of life. In 2002, their love of the ocean took them to Port Orford. Upon Enid’s death in 2015, Gordon joined his daughter, Jennifer’s family in Provo, Utah.

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Gordon was a devoted father, husband, and friend. He was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where he served in a variety of leadership positions and enjoyed working in the temple. When he was younger, Gordon liked camping, playing fastpitch softball (he was a pitcher), and fishing with his father-in-law, despite the fact that he didn’t like to eat fish. He was a handyman who enjoyed carpentry and woodworking, puttering around the garage, and could fix just about anything. He could even occasionally be found playing the piano. Family was important to Gordon, and he and Enid were regular attendees at their children’s various sporting, academic, and musical events. He and Enid enjoyed doing things together and were often involved in creative projects. He loved helping people and being of service.

Gordon is survived by his children, Gordon Thomas Durham of Corona, Calif., James Robert Durham of Houston, Tex., Michael Ray Durham of Long Beach, Calif., Lynne Hendrickson of Fullerton, Calif., Yvonne Durham of Bellingham, Wash., and Jennifer Dunkley of Provo, Utah; 23 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild; and sister, Caroline Durham of Long Beach, Calif.

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