Ronald B. Durning

Ronald B. Durning

SALISBURY — Ronald B. Durning died peacefully at Noble Horizons on March 5, 2023, at the age of 96.

Ronald Durning was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Dec. 22, 1926, the older of two children of Cecelia Bresler and Alvin C. Durning.  As a child, he attended the Isadore Newman School in New Orleans and as a young man, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy. He later received a degree from Tulane University.

Ron began his professional career at the New Orleans Public Service Corp. Two years later he joined Mutual of New York in their New Orleans office.  He was selected to enroll in their management training program which required a move to New York and was quickly promoted to manage his own agency in New York City. His agency was consistently one of the leaders in the company and a member of the “Topper Club.”  Ron later successfully launched and grew Compensation Programs, Inc., a national employee benefits consulting firm. He sold the company in 1975 to Corroon & Black, a major insurance company in the United States.  He then was President and CEO of NYSE-listed Alpine Geophysical, Inc., a petroleum services company with offices in New York City, Alpine, New Jersey, and Rome, Italy.  Throughout his career, he formed a number of other companies with ties to the insurance and financial world.  He also undertook other ventures including a New England resort hotel and two Scarsdale, New York restaurants, The Frog Prince Proper and Chase Landing. In 1993, he turned his attention to commercial and residential real estate development and sales with Country Properties Real Estate in South Egremont and Sheffield, Massachusetts.

Ron was an organized, hardworking, competitive, productive, disciplined take-charge leader with many interests.  He dressed impeccably and was always the gentleman. Ron loved sports and was a passionate tennis and paddle tennis player.  He played football and ran track in high school.  Ron was an avid Yankees and New York Giants fan.  He was a lifelong reader with a tremendous memory, and a New York Times crossword puzzle solver.  He had a great sense of humor and it seemed he could remember every joke ever told to him (but was known to burst into laughter before delivering the punch line).  Ron loved learning about other places, flew on the Concorde, and traveled to all fifty states and far off places around the world

In 1950, he married Doris Charbonnet, also of New Orleans.  Three years later they moved to Hartsdale and soon thereafter to Scarsdale, New York to pursue Ron’s career and to raise their family.  He and Doris had ten children whom he adored.  His children were proud that he was their father, rightly figuring that he was a cut above the rest. He was a sentimental father and husband, always warmly greeting his family and easily brought to tears reciting a poem or reading one of his own. Ron was an exceptionally successful football and softball coach for his children’s teams and provided a college education for ten children.  Ron and his wife, Doris, purchased a vacation home on Cedar Crest Road in the Twin Lakes area in the mid-Sixties, thus beginning his long relationship and affection for  the Berkshires and Salisbury in particular. He served for a time as president of the Twin Lakes Beach Club. About this time, he earned his private pilot’s license, purchasing a small plane (call sign “Bonanza 1043 Alpha”).  He flew it frequently around the country for both business and pleasure.

Together, Ron and Doris, provided a fun and varied upbringing for their children. In 1974, Doris, his wife of nearly twenty-five years died.  He married Judy Edge, also of Scarsdale.   They were married for fourteen years.  In 1998, he married Sylvia Stewart.  They had known each other since 1956, when she came to work at Mutual of New York.  Since marrying 25 years ago, Ron and Sylvia spent almost every day together enjoying each other’s company in and around Sheffield, Massachusetts, the Twin Lakes area of Salisbury and the last ten years at Noble Horizons.  During these years they received frequent visits from family and friends and travelled to many places including Toronto, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, the United Kingdom and Kyoto, Japan for special events with family.  They were married until the time of his death.

Ron’s greatest legacy, source of happiness and fulfillment came from his children and grandchildren, perhaps because of or in spite of having so many of them.  Doris and Ron had ten and eventually 18 grandchildren.  Ron and Sylvia had one child and a grandchild for a total of 19. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia, and children Ronald B. Durning, Jr. (Skip) and his wife, Margie, of Williamstown, Massachusetts, Michael C. Durning and his wife, Debbie, of Charlotte, North Carolina, Steven C. Durning-Hammond and his wife, Dawn Durning-Hammond, of Holliston, Massachusetts, Diane C. Wolinsky and her husband, Nate, of Newburgh, New York, Quentin C. Durning and his wife, Heidi, of Iwakura, Japan, Christopher E. Durning and his wife, Renee, of Concord, Massachusetts, David M. Durning and his wife, Cathy, of Winnetka, Illinois, John P. Durning and his wife, Susan, of Libertyville, Illinois, Heidi Harris and her husband, Rob, of Toronto, Canada, and Jennifer E. Durning and her husband, Geoff Tennican, of Wilson, Wyoming; and nineteen grandchildren (Matthew and Peter Durning, Jonathan and Alexander Durning, Jonah and Laurel Durning-Hammond, Ben Durning, Chandra and Ryan Durning, Juliana and Benjamin Durning, Jessica, Malcolm and Clayton Durning, Allie, Sarah and Jack Durning, Amanda Harris-Saenz) and eight great-grandchildren.

Ron Durning was preceded in death by his brother, Marvin B. Durning of Seattle in 2013, his daughter, Cynthia A. Durning in 1977 and his granddaughter, Emily M. Durning in 2017.

A gathering will take place at a future date when Ron’s family can come together in the beautiful northwest corner of Connecticut to share treasured memories and their love for him.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Noble Horizons for their warm and loving care.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Noble Horizons Education Fund.

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