Mary Durham Adams

August 18, 1923October 23, 2013

Mary Durham Adams, 90, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, has completed her journey of life. She is survived by the immeasurable love, of her three sons, Maurice, (Haddam, CT) Donald (West Jordan, UT), and Douglas (Midlothian, VA); 7 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Mary, so much more a verb than a noun, celebrated her 90th birthday on August 18th at her home, with 45 of her friends, hosted by her three sons. She was provided great end of life care, at Methodist Health and Rehab. Within her first month there she was being referred to as “Mayor”. Mary was the daughter of Frank and Grace Durham and had one brother, Robert, who preceded her in death. She was born, in Hartshorne, Ok; grew up in Fort Smith, was a beauty queen and attended college at the University of Arkansas and Sophie Newcomb, in New Orleans. She would also later obtain a degree in economics from Hunter College in New York City. While a young adventurous woman, she took flying lessons and would have had a pilot’s license had she not said “no!” to spinning out of control in a biplane. She met her husband Maurice at Fort Chaffee. Maurice served in World War II and was a highly decorated Lt. Colonel. Maurice’s brothers and sisters lured them to Idaho. They settled in Idaho Falls where they raised their three boys. Mary practiced law; served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Idaho Falls and four terms as the probate and juvenile judge of Bonneville County, Idaho. Her authority and demeanor enabled her to keep her sons on the straight and narrow. She was also admitted to practice law before the Us Supreme Court. After Maurice died from cancer in 1967, Mary ran for, and lost a very narrow primary race for Us House of Representatives. She moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and helped establish Jackson Hole Cable as a public stock company. Later she ventured to New York City and worked for a Fortune 500 company. When her mother was failing she moved back to Fort Smith and worked as a trust officer for Fort Smith National Bank. Mary was a woman of character(very strong as her sons would say); a woman of deep and abiding faith, full of kindness and charity; a woman of substance; compassionate, resolute, strong, smart, accomplished, forthright and honest. She had innumerable friends; loved bridge, had personality and lived a beautiful, vibrant life to its fullest. Funeral arrangements are with Fentress Mortuary, and a service will be held at 11:00 AM Monday, October 28th, at the Roebuck Chapel, at First United Methodist Church, 200 N 15th, in Fort Smith. The family will visit with friends after the service, and Mary will be reunited with her husband Maurice at the Fort Smith National Cemetery, at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, a charitable donation may be made to the American Cancer Society.


  • Funeral Service Monday, October 28, 2013

Mary Durham Adams

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Ed Fridenstine

October 29, 2013

Don and family, sorry to hear that your mother passed. I remember her as a strong and intelligent woman and I was a little intimidated as a kid by the fact she was a judge. But she was always nice. God bless you and your family

Carlye McGinnis

October 28, 2013

I had long ago lost track of your family, but growing up in Idaho Falls, I always thought your mother was exceptional. She was smart and independent and stylish and a great role model for what a woman could be. Knowing her certainly mattered in my life. I'm glad she is "reunited" with your father.

Rob Crowley

October 28, 2013

Doug, I haven't seen you since high school, but I saw your mother's obituary in the paper, today, and just wanted to extend my condolences. I pray that in the coming days and weeks that you will be blessed with peace and comfort. Best wishes.

October 27, 2013

Mary Adams was Judge Adams to us; she is the one who processed the adoptions of two of our children and we are eternally grateful. We also knew her and Maurice through Trinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls and do truly cherish our memories of her and the family....who were quite young then. Marilyn and Don Taylor

Karen Farrell

October 27, 2013

Doug we are so sorry for your loss. Pleas know that you are all in our thoughts as you go through this difficult period. Doug we know your mother must have been so proud of the wonderful husband, father and man you are. I am sure she was comforted by all the love with which her family surrounded her.
Karen and Jim Farrell

Rick Adams

October 27, 2013

Dear Maurice, Don and Doug, I'm sad to her about your mom but pray that you all will find great comfort and peace knowing that she lived a full and complete life. I hope that your memories of her will always bring joy to your hearts. I pray that you and your families are all well and that as you gather on Monday the Lord will bless your time. God bless you all! Rick

Sara Adans Jones

October 27, 2013

I have so many childhood memories of Aunt Mary. Her Arkansas accent, her radiant smile, her kind remarks, and the great family gatherings where she would bustle around with Aunt Letha and my mom in the kitchen getting things done. Maurice, Donald, and Doug - My sympathies are with you and your families. God bless you with wonderful memories always.

Angie Gonzalez

October 26, 2013

I sure will miss Mary coming into the dental office. Over the past few years, as her hair began to thin, she would arrive for her appointments with the cutest hat on. I always told her how much I liked each one & could she leave them to me in her will. Her reply was always, "Oh, Angie, I'll out live you!" She was one of my favorites! Always spunky & asking about my little girl too. She was a great lady! Our office just won't be the same without our Mary. Thanks for letting her stay in Ft. Smith so long. Praying for your family.