FARMINGTON — Kenneth “Spider” Durrell Jr., 89, of Farmington, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on Thursday, Oct. 26.
Spider was a miracle from the day he was born. On December 26, 1927, his mother Marguerite VanTassel gave birth to him prematurely: weighing in only a little over two pounds. The doctor told Marguerite that he may not survive but since birth he proved that he was a fighter. She kept him alive by keeping him in a shoe box in the warming oven of the wood stove and feeding him with an eye dropper.
He graduated from Farmington High School in 1948. He then went to work in the woods until he was drafted in 1950 and served his country in the U.S Army during the Korean War until 1952.
Spider was joyously married to Marion Durrell on November 8, 1953. They remained happily married for the last 64 years.
After the war he was employed by Morton Motors Company. He started in the part department and then was a car salesman for 23 years. He then went back into the woods for the Rackliff Lumber Company for 14 years. He returned to selling cars for a few years before his retirement in the early 1990s. He also volunteered at Franklin Memorial Hospital for many years after retiring. Spider was a hard worker but always had a smile on his face. After a full day of work, he would come home and work in his football field sized garden. He lived by the phrase “treat others as you would want to be treated.” He was a pillar of the community. He was the main catalyst in building the West Farmington Little League baseball field, was a lifetime member of the Farmington and West Farmington Fire Departments and was a member of the American Legion Post #28, Elks and Masons Maine Lodge #20. He helped coach the West Farmington Giants and the Fairbanks Red Sox for many years. You could find him at the fairgrounds every year (including this year) working the Bingo tent. He could also be found at McDonalds almost every morning for his coffee with the crew.
He loved hunting, fishing and everything in the great outdoors. At the hospital when asked if he knew the date, he replied, “I know it’s not November!” because he wasn’t hunting. There were two seasons for Spider-hunting season and getting ready for hunting season. If he wasn’t in the woods, you could find him tinkering in his garage. Spider and Marion enjoyed camping and were regulars at the Happy Horseshoe Campground. He loved to dance and go on long car rides with Marion or go to cheer on their children and grandchildren at sporting events.
Spider is survived by wife, Marion; five children, Debbie Stanley and husband, Brent, of Wilton, Stewart Durrell and wife, Kathy, of Industry, Denise Noyes and husband, Norm, of Hampden, Steven Durrell and wife, Karen, of Nova Scotia, and Donna Williams and husband, Jerry, of New Sharon; nine grandchildren, Tanya Nalesnik, Tracy Chandler, Adam Pomeroy, Dylan Noyes, Blake and Ben Durrell, and Jenna, Alyssa and J.T. Williams; six great-grandchildren, Debbie, Kenny and Jonny Nalesnik, Kelsey and Kayden Pomeroy and Laiken Williams; and many cherished nieces, nephews and cousins.
Spider is preceded in death by his mother Marguerite VanTassel; step father Vaughn VanTassel; father-in-law Claris Ranger, mother-in-law Rose Ranger; two sisters Leila Sharlow and Pauline Fornier and several other close family members and friends.
The family would like to thank Dr. Peter Cordner and the nursing staff at Franklin Memorial Hospital, the staff at the Sandy River Nursing Home and the nurses of Androscoggin Home Health Hospice during the last few weeks of Spider’s life. They would also like to acknowledge Dr. Stephen Bein and his staff for their years of care. Spider enjoyed the numerous fishing adventures with Dr. Bein.
Condolences may be sent for the family at www.adamsmcfarlane.com.
Kenneth “Spider” Durrell