James J. Durning of Hudson, Wisconsin passed away on 12/01/2018 at the age of 84. James was born on July 15, 1934 in Stillwater, Minnesota. James grew up in Hudson, attended St. Patrick’s grade school & graduated from Hudson Senior High in 1953. He went on to attend Saint John’s University (MN) & then enrolled in the United States Naval Aviation Cadet Program. James served in the United States Navy on the USS Randolph until 1959. After his years of service James returned to Hudson & married his wife of fifty-nine years, Sandra Jean McCullough of Hammond, WI on February 6, 1960.
James then returned to school & graduated with a BA in Business & Economics from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1962. Afterwards he worked a number of jobs before setting out to pursue his true passion: food.
In 1970, James opened a Mr. Steak restaurant in Eagan, MN. Along with running the restaurant, James served as a member of the Woodbury Junior Chamber of Commerce & helped establish the annual Woodbury Days Summer Festival.
In 1980, James & Sandra established their own restaurant, Durning’s Fine Dining, in Eagan (MN). Along with delivering an incredible fine dining experience & exquisite prime rib, Durning’s provided guests with a taste of antiquity. Durning’s restaurant was furnished with an abundance of antiques that had been preserved from the family’s rich history in the midwest, many dating all the way back to the mid 1800’s.
After over a decade of serving happy customers James sold his restaurant in 1991 to spend more time with his family & grandchildren.
Through the years, James enjoyed fishing & spending time with loved ones at the family cabin that he built on Lake Matthews in Northwest Wisconsin. He learned to sail & spent winters with his wife Sandra, soaking in the sunshine of the Florida keys.
In the year 2000, James returned to his roots & built a house across the river from the old family farm in St. Joe Township. In retirement, James loved spending time with his grandchildren, teaching them everything he knew, & sharing everything he had. James was a husband, a father & a grandfather; a teacher & a friend. He established a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. The impact he had on the people around him will remain with them until they meet once again in the Lord’s sweet embrace. An ordinary man, doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well. He will be tremendously missed.
James was preceded in death by his Father & Mother, John & Cecelia Plourde Durning, his Wife Sandra Jean Durning, & Grandson, Grant Durning Truhler. James is survived by his children Catherine (Charles) Wiechmann, Jack Durning, & Ann (Dean) Truhler. He is survived by grandchildren Ellyn (Rick) Lee & Lewis Wiechman as well as Travis (Caitlyn), Clayton, Samuel, & Julio Truhler.
Services for James will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 7, 2018 at the St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1500 Vine St., Hudson, WI. Visitaion will be held from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 6, at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 520 s. 11th St., Hudson, WI.
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