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Gerry Durnell Passes Away

Longtime supporter of the American Saddlebred and the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA), Gerald "Gerry" L. Durnell, 69, passed away on the evening of Monday, May 23, 2011, after a courageous bout with cancer.

Gerry, husband of longtime ASHA member Kaye Bowles-Durnell, was born April 27, 1942 in Santa Paula, California. He was a graduate of Southwest Missouri University in Springfield, Missouri. He worked his way through college as a rock and roll DJ, a TV cameraman, and as an announcer for the Ozark Jubilee.

During the Vietnam War, while serving as a U.S. Army Captain, Durnell flew more than 180 reconnaissance missions before his plane was hit by a surface to air missile. Upon his return to Springfield, he served three terms in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Other of Durnell’s ventures included being Creative Director for Abby Press in Santa Claus, Indiana, involvement in the pizza business (including founding Pizza Today magazine and the international trade show, Pizza Expo, in 1984), the purchase of Automobile Quarterly magazine, the development of oceanfront land in Sayulita, Mexico, a small fishing village north of Puerto Vallarta, and the more recent purchases of Automobile Events magazine and John Galt Bindery.

A multi-dimensional thinker, Durnell’s college majors were pre-med and fine art. As an entrepreneur, publisher, inventor, tinkerer, writer, and voracious reader, he was most happy when off on a new venture, such as a recently started development in Curitiba, Brazil, or when recharging at Villa del Oso (House of the Bear), their Mexico home.

Durnell was preceded in death by his parents, Homer and Lucille Van Hoosier Durnell, his brother Jack, and his nephew Dustin, and is survived by his three children, Meranie Skari (Dan), John C. Durnell (Rona), and Amber Katherine Storm (Jeff) and seven grandchildren, Joshua Durnell, Tayleur Durnell, Christian Skari, Tristan Durnell, Brooke Durnell, Miriam Skari, and Abigail Storm.

A celebration of Gerry’s life will be held at the Pendennis Club, 218 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. at 4 PM, Wednesday, June 1.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Heuser Hearing Institute or the American Saddlebred Museum.

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