John R. “Bill” Durrance, 91, died January 14, 2012. He was born on November 5, 1920 in Jacksonville to John and Viola Durrance and lived in Jacksonville most of his life before moving to Macclenny in 1998 to be closer to his family. Bill served from 1939 to 1945 in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he met his wife of 63 years, Kathryn “Cappy” Durrance.
Following an honorable discharge from the Coast Guard, Mr. Durrance joined the Duval County Road Patrol in 1946 and retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 1972. He enjoyed gardening, mowing his yard, working in his workshop, playing Bingo with his Pickettville friends and attending church at the Christian Fellowship Temple. Bill was passionate about baseball, not only as a player, but coaching children, playing in various leagues throughout his life, even playing semi-pro baseball. He had a love for the game, a passion that he instilled in his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who affectionately called him “Papa Bill” and “Bull.” He was often found playing catch with his family and caregivers right up until his death. He was preceded in death by his wife, son Johnny Durrance and great-granddaughter Hannah Rhoden.
Survivors include daughters Kathy (Riley) Rhoden, Debbie (Phil) Rhoden; grandchildren Riley (Connie) Rhoden, Jana (Kevin) Sowell; great-grandchildren Makenzie, Abbie, and Riley Rhoden, Kallie, Kaleb and Taylor Sowell, all of Macclenny; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
A graveside service was held Tuesday, January 17 at 2 pm at Edgewood Cemetery with Pastor Timmy Thomas officiating. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice. Corey-Kerlin Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.