Barbara Bowman Durning

Areas of Achievement: 

Honored By

Honored by: Bowman, Patricia
Date submitted: October 24, 2006

Barbara Fairfax Bowman Durning attended Park Hill Grade School in Denver, Colorado. Junior high school years were spent in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and she graduated from Rincon High School in Tucson Arizona in 1969. She attended Pitzer College in Claremont, California for two years and transferred to the University of the Americas in Chollula, Mexico where she earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology. In 1974 she married William Perry Durning (an exploration geologist) and lived in Duluth, Minnesota. While there she studied for and received a degree in Spanish Language. (Friends teased her that she spoke Spanish with a Finnish accent).

Barbara Fairfax Bowman (aka Babs) was born on November 4, 1950, at St. Luke's Hospital in Denver, Colorado, to Patricia Joffee Bowman and Ernest Dexter Bowman, Jr. Her baptism service at St. Martin's Chapel or St. John's Episcopal Cathedral (the same chapel where her parents were married) was attended by her proud grandfathers, Capt. I. H. Joffee and Ernest D. Bowman and her Godparents. Brothers Robert Ryals arrived in 1954 and William Dexter in 1959 - so Dex and I had "3 Bs," Babs, Bob and Bill. Babs was a protective big sister and leader of their private "gogomonga" club.

We moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico, in 1963 and Babs had to make new friends. Her interest in swimming developed our fist summer there and when a Canadian neighbor decided to organize a synchronized swimming group, learning to "scull" became an important goal.

We were offered a home in the country with a stable and tack room and horses then took precedence. Soon a "hunt cap" was needed for horsemanship over fences in competition at small shows.

Another transfer brought us to Tucson for her high school years at Rincon where she was introduced to gymnastics and worked as a student reporter for the Teen Page of the Tucson Citizen.

During summers swimming again became an interest and Babs and three friends organized a relay team. There weren't many blue ribbons, but no team had more spirit or fun.

An invitation from the Tucson Symphony Women's Association to be introduced at their annual cotillion during her senior high school year provided much fun for Babs and her Dad. Since our move to Tucson, Dex had spent most of his time overseeing company projects developed in Denver and located in Europe and Australia. He scheduled his time and travels to be in Tucson for all the rehearsals of the Father-Daughter Waltz which opened each year's cotillion. They had a wonderful time and their photograph taken that evening is much treasured.

Following graduation from high school she entered Pitzer College in Claremont, California, with a major in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Spanish. After two years, she transferred to the University of the Americas in Chollula, Mexico, and graduated with a degree in Cultural Anthropology.

A chance introduction to Perry Durning at the Tucson Racquet Club resulted in "game-set-match." They were married in Tucson and had three much loved sons - William, Thomas and Matthew (aka Will, Matt and Tom).

Babs died much too young. She was a blue-eyed blonde who loved running and swimming. An eye problem was diagnosed as a malignant melanoma and the eye removed. Sadly, the disease had spread to her liver and she died at her "growing-up" home in Tucson on December 2, 1986. We shared a special love - she was my favorite daughter and I was her special mother. We always laughed at this as I was her only mother and she my only daughter.