James Melvin Durham


August 8, 1940 - October 13, 2019 Wenatchee, Washington James Melvin “Jim” Durham, 79, of Wenatchee, passed away on Sunday, October 13, 2019, at Central Washington Hospital.

Jim was born on August 8, 1940, in Brainerd, Minnesota to the late John Samuel “Jack” and  Florence Edna (Sell) Durham. He was raised in Hibbing, Minnesota, and graduated from Hibbing High School in 1958. He continued his education at Hibbing Junior College where he studied forestry. He met Emma Gladys Van Horn and they were later married on July 1, 1961, in Crosby, Minnesota. They made their first home in Merrifield, Minnesota. Jim worked at the NW Paper Company papermill until the family moved to Anchorage in 1975. He worked at M.W. Drilling, prior to moving to Wasilla, Alaska, in 1983. In Wasilla, he started his own drilling and excavation company, Rock Ridge Enterprises, which he operated until he and Cis moved to make their home in Wenatchee in 2011.

Jim loved spending time with his family, and all things outdoors: camping, hunting, fishing and four-wheeling. Jim was a longtime member of the Elks Lodge of Palmer, Alaska. He was also part of the East Wenatchee Bowling Alley Friends group.

Jim is survived by his wife, Emma “Cis” Durham of Wenatchee, WA; children: Kelly (Matthew) Riedel of Wenatchee, WA and Dean Durham (Shaunna) of Fall Creek, OR; brothers: Gerald (Cathie) Durham of Andover, MN and Ted (Anita) Durham of Wasilla, AK; sister, Janis (Richard) Belmont of Fergus Falls, MN; grandchildren: Seth Riedel of Spokane, WA, Jemma Riedel of Spokane, WA, Justin Durham of Portland, OR, and Nathan Durham of Fall Creek, OR. He is also survived by his siblings through marriage: Dale (Patty) Van Horn of Crosby, MN, Gail (Fred) McGuire of Lino Lakes, MN, Earl (Cincy) Van Horn of Crosby, MN, Mike (Judy) Van Horn of Crosby, MN, Esther (Steve) Reem of Palmer, AK, Carolyn Engholm of Little Falls, MN, Lester (Brenda) Van Horn of Crosby, MN, and sibling spouses: Elsie (James) Van Horn of Merrifield, MN, Linda Gasho (Jack “Harry” Van Horn) of Brule, NE, Kandy Knauer (Arthur) of Cologne, MN, Danny (Kaye) Krein of Cambridge, MN; and all his nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings through marriage: James Van Horn, Jack “Harry” Van Horn, Arthur Van Horn, Faye LaMar, and Kaye Krein.

You are invited to visit Jim’s tribute online at and leave a memory for the family. Arrangements are in the care of Heritage Memorial Chapel, East  Wenatchee.

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