Dr. James Robert Durig
April 30, 1935 – January 7, 2020
Columbia – Dr. James Robert Durig, 84, passed away on Tuesday, January 7, 2020. Funeral services will be held 11:00 am Saturday, January 11, 2020 at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel with burial to follow at Elmwood Cemetery. A gathering of family and friends will be one hour prior to the service at the funeral home and immediately following the graveside service in the chapel at Elmwood Cemetery.
Dr. Durig was born April 30, 1935 in the Buffalo Township of Washington County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Claysville High School in 1953. After working with the B&O Railroad for a year, he entered Washington and Jefferson College. He graduated in 1958, Magna Cum Laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to earn his doctorate in physical chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina where he was a professor from 1962 to 1993 and Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics from 1973 to 1993. He is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1993-2000 and a professor from 1993-2016. Dr. Durig was one of the most distinguished chemists in the global scientific community. In his 48 years of teaching, he has supervised more than 100 doctoral students and authored over 1,000 academic refereed journal articles about vibrational and rotational spectroscopy. Dr. Durig also participated in conferences and gave lectures on his scientific expertise all over the world.
He is predeceased by his mother, Roberta Durig; his wife of 60 years, Marlene Sprowls Durig and brother Bruce Mounts. Survivors include his brother Melvin Mounts, Green Valley, AZ and Earl Mounts, Pittsburgh, PA; his children, Douglas Durig of Sewanee, TN, Bryan Durig (Marla) of Columbia, SC, and Stacey Hamm (Kurt) of Columbia, SC; and grandchildren, Nicole Durig Quinlan (Rick), Mallory Durig, Delaney Durig, Meagan Durig, Kathryn Hamm, Jamie Hamm, and Laura Hamm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation; or to the charity of one's choice.
Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.
- Gathering of Family and Friends Saturday, January 11, 2020
- Funeral Services Saturday, January 11, 2020
- Place of Rest Saturday, January 11, 2020
- Reception Saturday, January 11, 2020
Dr. James Robert Durig
January 10, 2020
Jim was unique. He and Marlene worked relentlessly, and made a positive difference in many lives, including mine.
Some may not be aware that Jim came from humble origins in rural Pennsylvania. As I recall it, his stepfather ran a dairy and Jim worked very hard there in childhood. How likely was it that he would end up graduating from MIT and become one of the World's most highly recognized molecular spectroscopists?
I remember another side of Jim--He was willing to accept a student of questionable work ethic and maturity, and give him a chance to grow up and better himself. That chance turned out to be one of the most important in my life.
Jim's family should be very proud of him and his accomplishments. My sincerest condolences.
Thank you, and rest in peace Jim. Bill Green (USC PhD 1967)
January 9, 2020
Sorry to learn of your loss, Doug.
January 9, 2020
My deepest sympathy to all of Dr. Durig's family.
Dr. Durig’s leadership and scientific legacy shines as bright as the sun. His mentorship resulted in developing excellent careers for his graduate students, of which I am one. There are a great deal of good memories with Dr. Durig and Marlene, I could fill a book with them and still only scratch the surface. One was around Christmas in 1996, a few weeks after my arrival from Egypt, Dr. Durig requested to speak with me privately in the lab. I was wondering what I did, when shortly after he opened his wallet and gave me $200 because he had sensed that I needed the money. Also, Marlene gave me a hat and a scarf because I was underdressed for such a cold winter. Both Dr. Durig and Marlene had truly good hearts.
You both will be always remembered
Rest in peace.
January 9, 2020
Dear Doug, Bryan and Stacey, grandchildren and brothers,
My deepest sympathy to all of Jim's family. On behalf of all of us at W&J who grew to love both Jim and Marlene over the years. I was
privileged to spend time with both in Kansas City and here on campus when they would visit with their "pups". We became so close and loved hearing stories of their worldwide travels. From humble beginnings to remarkable lives, they never forgot their western PA roots. (Ironically my mom also graduated from Claysville). You all were blessed with the BEST! I miss them both.
Susan Rush Kepler, W&J class of '74
January 7, 2020
When people ask me what graduate school was like, I tell them it was Hell's Kitchen and Dr. Durig was Gordon Ramsey. He was passionate, highly intelligent, the only person I have known with an eidetic memory, competitive, pushed you to be your best, but most of all he cared for the success of his students. In the beginning, you were pushed to be successful. The more growth you needed, the harder he pushed. At times in the beginning, that could be hard but it made you want to try harder. I am truly grateful for the opportunity he gave me. He was an amazing person to know and I am glad I was given this opportunity. I am glad you are with Marlene now!