RIP Bill Durning

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2013: RIP Bill Durning
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 10:31 pm:

Probably only one or two of you will recognize the name. Bill was not a "joiner", and he was never a member of the MTFCA. He did not use a computer. The Model T community will not mourn this loss the way we did for Bruce McCalley or Ralph Reeder or Ken Meek, who were pillars of our community.

But Bill was THE pillar of the Model T and Model A community here in our area. He was a professional mechanic who worked on T's and A's from the time when most people drove those cars every day, until just a few weeks ago when he became unable to do so any longer.

I first met Bill in 1963, when I came to Fayetteville to attend the U of A. I was 18, he was 45. I was driving a Model A hot rod which I had built from parts, and of course I needed some help to keep it on the road. Bill wasn't a hot rod guy, but he welcomed me with open arms. He was always willing to help out a fellow car guy, no matter what the circumstances. We were friends for 50 years.

I acquired a Model T in 1970 and quickly turned to Bill for help with it. As it turned out, I had two Model T mentors, Bill D. and Bill Younkin, who passed away about 3 years ago. Bill Younkin was the uncle of Paul Mikeska, who is a participant in the Forum. Paul was also a longtime friend of Bill D.

As I said, most of you will not know the name, and you will not feel a personal loss. But whether you feel it or not, the Model T community has lost an upstanding citizen. All those who have come in contact with Bill over the past several decades will know what I'm saying. With Bill's passing, there is a tremendous amount of Model T knowledge lost. I tried to absorb all I could from Bill D. and Bill Y., but I am certain I only scratched the surface of what they knew. Both of those guys were WW-II veterans, and members of "The Greatest Generation." This loss is happening all around us.

Please make an effort to spend time with the older T guys around you. I tried, but I don't feel that I tried hard enough. So much is lost that can never be recovered. Spend lots of time and ask lots of questions. Even if you don't realize it at the time, it will be important later.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 10:37 pm:

Mike,

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend and mentor.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Daron - Brownsburg IN on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 10:45 pm:

Both were fine gentlemen,I'm sorry for your loss.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul Mikeska, Denver CO on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 12:04 am:

I was feeling sorry for myself tonight as I spent 11 hours at work. Last week I had to fly to another corner of Arkansas on business and invest many overtime free hours of labor.

Then Mike called me tonight. I lost it. Bill Durning and Bill Younkin helped shape my early years and helped make me who I am today.
I lived in Austin Texas, was about 12 years old and needed a strong male figure in my life. It was decided that I would spent my summer school vacations in in Arkansas with my Uncle Bill. Long story short Bill Y decided to build a T Speedster for our first summer project. That is when I met Bill Durning. He was the local Model T and A expert. We got most of the parts for that speedster from Bill Durning. Both of them took me under their wing and as luck would have it you did not buy T parts from Bill D without some supervision. I spent my days working and learning in Younkins shop and my evenings learning about T's from both of the Bills. It was a good time in my life. I have an 8 x 10 framed picture of that ugly yellow speedster that hangs in my bedroom that I would not part with.

Mike Walker was lucky enough to live in the same town as Bill Durning and Bill Younkin. I had to visit to learn from them. Mike got the better end of the deal but I would not trade any of you for my experiences.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John P. Steele, Montana on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 12:36 am:

Mike and Paul, I'm sorry for your loss. There are not many of the original old T guys left. You now have passed from student to mentors for the next generation. You do a great job of mentoring here on the forum!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 12:52 am:

Whether I ever knew the person or not, it always saddens me to hear of this sort of a loss. It is part of life. It is inevitable. However these special people leave more of a mark on us than so many others because of what made them special.
Remember this song?
Silver threads among the gold.
Make new friends, keep the old,
one is silver, the other is gold.

Wayne Sheldon


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 02:40 am:

Sad to hear of a passing flame but how nice to read about the other candles that flame helped shine brighter.

Most of us live as oysters, while some become pearls.

God Bless,


Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Gumbinger, Kenosha, WI on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 10:35 am:

Mike and Paul - I share your loss. Like Wayne said above, I never new Bill D. or Bill Y., but knew another man who was somewhat like them.

His name was Karl Kvale. He was born in 1900 and grew up with Model T's. His family had a country garage near Arlington, WI, and they fixed just about anything someone brought in. He kept all the Model T's in the area going and did everything from overhauls to simple repairs. He was working on a Model A engine when he died of a sudden heart attack. Died with his boots on. He left a permanent impression on me and was a good example.

Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kirk Peterson on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 11:04 am:

Mike

I am sorry for your loss.

I just visited my Dad. He made me an engraved sign for the T. I love him very much.
When the time comes, I will miss him.

I really appreciated your invitation to me to come visit you when I posted I was in the area returning from the "Party".

Thanks for your compassion Mike.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 11:28 am:

The really, really, really sad part about the passing of folks like these is that there seems to be not many enough like them coming up along the road of life to mentor the young, impressionable youth of today.

The "role models" that the youth of today seem to emulate are not the type most of us would welcome into our family.

The world is becoming worse with the passing of the great ones...they are sorrowfully missed


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Cole ---- Earth on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 12:49 pm:

Dave is right,folks now look up to the wrong people.

There is a hidden lesson that these older folks have been teaching that we may not be picking up on.
And that is to continue to teach others same as they taught us.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 12:52 pm:

Mike,

Thank you for telling us about your friend. As you suggested may be the case, I did not know him, and that is the cause of my feeling of loss at his passing. It's good to tell of those people who touched our lives in a positive way, even though they may no longer be with us, in person. Speaking for myself, it shows me that I can be better than I am, and makes me want to be.


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