Helen Durham

Obituary of Helen Margaret Durham

Helen (Morfitt) Durham was born October 8th, 1924 in Wilder, Idaho, to James C. Morfitt and Margaret L. (Glenn) Morfitt. As a child she lived in Wilder ID, Boise ID, Burns OR, Jerome ID, Twin Falls ID, and in 1932, when she was eight years old, the family returned to Boise ID. She attended the last half of the third grade at Central School, and the next seven years at St. Theresa Academy. Her junior and senior years were spent at Boise High School, graduating with the class of 1942. It was here that she met the love of her life, Ora “Bull” Durham. After graduation, she attended the University of Idaho, where she was affiliated with Delta Delta Delta sorority, where she made life long friends. These sisters kept in touch for over 63 years, with mail, phone calls, and mini reunions. On campus, Helen was active in many organizations, serving as a Minute Maid (selling war bonds), making bandages for the Red Cross, having fun as a cheer leader, holding office in the Newman club and serving as Treasurer of the Senior class. 

They were deeply involved with World War two, and while Helen was in college, her boyfriend Bull Durham was serving his country on the USS Enterprise. They were always in touch with letters he wrote to her every day. When his service was over, Bull also attended the U of I. Helen graduated in June of 1946, with a BS in Dietetics. She and Bull were married on June 16th 1946 at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise, ID. Due to a lack of funds, they were unable to move to Cincinnati, Ohio for Helen to complete her internship as a Dietician, thus she became a bookkeeper for the next 10 years at Morfitt stores in Wilder, with two years spent in Marsing Idaho.

In 1954, daughter JanaLee arrived and Helen stayed home to be a mom. In 1957, son John Edward arrived and the family was complete. Bull and Helen were active in their community. Bull serving on the city council and as a mayor. Helen was active at St Hubert Catholic church, serving as President of the Parish Council and President of Western Deanery, President of the Wilder PTA, room mother for both children, secretary for the bowling league, a member of the Caldwell women golf league, active in scouting as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, attending sporting events her children were involved in, and driving them to dance classes and music lessons.

Helen maintained her love for her sorority and helped establish the Tri Delta Alumnae chapter in Nampa and Caldwell, where she served as President. She also attended a national convention in Florida, with Pat Wilcomb, to see about establishing a chapter at Boise State. She served the national organizations as a Rush Counselor, helping with Rush at University of Idaho, Washington State, University of Utah in Salt Lake, and Pacific University in California. In her later years she was still active as a member of the Boise Alumnae Chapter.

In 1977, Bull and Helen decided to leave the store business and move back to Boise. She started a new career as a secretary to the President of Modern Foods, where her boss and his wife became very dear friends. After two years, Modern Foods became a part of Strevell Patterson, and Helen decided not to accept the job of credit clerk. After a few months, her past boss talked her into applying at Red Steer, KFC, and H&H distributing, which were all under the same management. She worked there for two years and the company was sold and split. She worked another two years doing the accounts for Kentucky Fried Chicken and again the company was sold. Her next job was for Sunshine Mining Company.

In retirement, she and Bull did some traveling, attended events for grandchildren, played bridge with her Tri Delta bridge sisters, who meant so much to her, and had lunch once a month with the Boise High School gals. Her daughter and grandchildren gave them a computer, new to her with a mouse, and this involved e-mail, typing letters and eventually on the Internet.

She is survived by Her daughter JanaLee Biladeau, grand children Michelle Johnson (Ryan) Nicole Wheaton (John) Terri Jo Shewmaker, Brian Biladeau (Jennifer). Great grandchildren, Kendan, Kennedy, Mckenna, Emma, Reese, Johnny, Josh, Meadow, Elliott, and Tatiana. Nephews, James C. Morfitt (Jane) Richard Morfitt and Briggs Hawley. Grand nieces, Molly, Megan, Kylee and Kirby, and special cousin Eleanor Glenn.

She was preceded in death by her husband Ora “Bull” Durham, parents James and Margaret Morfitt, brother Carl (Mike) Morfitt, son John E. Durham, nephew Michael Morfitt, Grandson Anthony Shewmaker and her mother-in-law Bernice Durham Morfitt, as well as many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Services will be at Sacred Heart Catholic Church 811 South Latah St, Boise ID. Mass of Christian Burial, Saturday September 30, 2023 at 11:00AM. Burial at Dry Creek Cemetery at a later date. Handled by Summers Funeral Home. A reception will be held immediately after the service in Faith Hall.

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Funeral Service

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
811 S. Latah Street
Boise, Idaho, United States
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