Cover photo for Patricia "Patsy" Durham's Obituary
Patricia "Patsy" Durham Profile Photo

Patricia "Patsy" Durham

April 10, 1944 — August 30, 2023


Patricia "Patsy" Durham


Patricia "Patsy" Louise Whitaker Durham passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in her sleep on August 30, 2023, at her home in Portland, Texas.  She was a remarkable woman known for her vibrant spirit and passion for life.

Patsy was born on April 10, 1944, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Frederick Struppa Whitaker Jr. and Phyllis Winifred Stewart. “Patsy Lou” spent her formative years in Lulu, Florida, and later moved with her family to White Springs, Florida, where she graduated from high school. 

She worked for Occidental Phosphate Company where she met someone who would forever change her life. On August 20, 1966, her marriage to David Petersen Durham began a lifetime of love and adventure. Their life together was anything but ordinary. David's career as a geologist with U.S. Steel led them to live in Ciudad Piar, Venezuela, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Mafeking, South Africa. Living abroad allowed them to explore and experience different cultures, as they traveled extensively throughout Europe, South America, and Africa.

In 1980, Patsy and David settled in Portland, Texas, which she affectionately called “home,” saying “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as quick as I could!” For 30 years, she dedicated herself to her career as a legal assistant for Attorney Lance Bruun in Corpus Christi. Patsy had an insatiable appetite for knowledge and, while working full-time, pursued her Bachelor of Arts in Music degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi in 2003.

Patsy was a multi-talented individual, introducing herself as "a legal assistant by profession and a musician by passion." An accomplished soprano, she lent her melodious voice to multiple chorale groups in south Texas, traveling to perform in renowned locations around the world, including Notre Dame, Carnegie Hall, Galway Cathedral, and the World War II Memorial at Normandy.

Beyond her musical talents, Patsy was an avid reader, a dedicated birder, a curious traveler, a gifted poet, and a meticulous scrap booker. Patsy's cooking skills were truly special, and her dining room table in Portland was where she and David shared meals every evening for 40 years. She delighted in preparing delicious meals for her loved ones, creating countless cherished memories of good food, shared laughter, long dinner conversations and captivating storytelling. She loved sharing her favorite dishes, and every Thanksgiving, her ambrosia salad was a family favorite.

Patsy's faith was an integral part of her life, and All Saints' Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi, TX, was her cherished spiritual home. She shared her love for God through her participation in the choir and her leadership in various ministries, including the labyrinth, contemporary worship, contemplative prayer, and hospitality. She also played a pivotal role in leading worship during numerous Cursillo retreats, reflecting her deep devotion to the Lord and connection with others.

Patsy's relationship with God was a beautiful thread woven through her life. She found solace and strength in her faith, and it was through this faith that she lived a life filled with love and purpose. She often spoke of the divine guidance that led her on her life's adventures and brought her into the hearts of those she met along the way.

Patsy treasured her family. Her grandchildren - Christa Joy Louise Edmonds, Tyler Grant Ogburn, Reece William Ogburn, Tommy Griffin Potter, and Caroline Bailey Potter - held a special place in her heart. She orchestrated trips to spend precious time with them, making every moment count. She especially enjoyed reading to her great-granddaughter, Eira Belle Grace Edmonds, sharing the magic of "Uncle Remus" stories and entertaining her with character voices. Everyone she met felt the depth of her love.

Patsy is preceded in death by her beloved husband of 54 years, David, her parents, and her sister, Laura Ellen Bennett. She leaves behind a legacy of love and cherished memories, survived by her son Edward “Ward” Grant Ogburn (Bretta) of Blairsville, GA, daughter Barbara Carol Durham of Austin, TX, sister Mary Anne Whitaker of Rushville, Indiana, and brothers Frederick Stephen Whitaker (Andrea) of Wenatchee, Washington, George Edwin Whitaker (Stacy) of Lake City, Florida, and David John Whitaker (Lily) of Miami, Florida. She also leaves behind five grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, a host of nieces, nephews, and dear family and friends.

A Celebration of Life in honor of Patsy will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at 2 pm at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Please join us as we remember and celebrate the extraordinary life of a woman who touched our hearts and souls in countless ways. Patsy's light will continue to shine in the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing her.

Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of the professionals at Winsteads’ Funeral Home. (361) 643-6564


Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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