Kemper Durand was a lawyer from Memphis, Tennessee, who died on February 16, 2013, at the age of 64. He was recovering from the flu, and he suddenly passed away on a Saturday. He was the husband of Lillian Durand, and the father of Jennings and Bartlett Durand. He was also a former baseball player, a bird-watcher, a jazz lover, and a friend to many. This article will explore the life and death of Kemper Durand, and how his family and friends remembered him.
A Passion for Law and Justice
Kemper Durand was born on June 15, 1948, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Richard and Mary Durand. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where he developed a passion for law and justice. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1970, and received his law degree from the University of Memphis in 1973. He joined the law firm of Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell in Memphis, where he specialized in criminal defense. He was a fan of John Mortimer’s fictional British barrister, Horace Rumpole, who defended all sorts of clients, from rich businessmen to poor street folks. Kemper was an American Rumpole of the Bailey, who delighted in being an advocate for unattractive people and unpopular causes. He was a tenacious advocate, but he was unfailingly professional and civil. He was respected by judges, prosecutors, and fellow lawyers for his integrity and skill.
A Remarkable Case and a Heroic Act
One of the most remarkable cases that Kemper Durand handled was the case of Clark McMillan, who was wrongfully convicted of rape and spent 22 years in prison. Kemper took him on as a pro bono client, and worked for months to find the DNA evidence that proved his innocence. He finally succeeded in getting his conviction overturned, and on May 5, 2002, Clark McMillan walked out of prison, a free man, with his friend and lawyer, Kemper Durand, at his side. Kemper was hailed as a hero by the media and the public for his dedication and perseverance.
Another heroic act that Kemper Durand performed was when he was kidnapped by two young men who wanted his car. One night in 2009, Kemper was leaving his office when he was accosted by two men, one of whom held a gun at his face and demanded his car keys. Kemper calmly handed over his keys, but then he did something unexpected. He asked the men if they had ever heard of Horace Rumpole, and proceeded to tell them about his favorite fictional lawyer. He also told them about his own life and career, and how he had helped many people in trouble. He talked to them for about 20 minutes, until they reached a gas station. There, he asked them to let him go, and they agreed. They even gave him back his keys and his wallet, and apologized for their actions. Kemper then drove away, unharmed, and reported the incident to the police. He later said that he was not afraid, but rather curious about the men and their motives. He said that he hoped that his words had some impact on them, and that they would change their lives for the better.
A Loving Family and a Joyful Life
Kemper Durand was not only a great lawyer, but also a loving husband and father. He married Lillian Durand in 1974, and they had two sons, Jennings and Bartlett. He was very proud of his sons, who followed his footsteps into the law. Jennings became a prosecutor, and Bartlett became a public defender. Kemper was also a devoted grandfather to his four grandchildren, whom he adored. He enjoyed spending time with his family, and taking them to his favorite places, such as the Green Bay Packers games, the Memphis Grizzlies games, the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and the Little Tea Shop. He also loved bird-watching, reading the Sunday New York Times, listening to jazz, and drinking chicory coffee. He had a positive outlook on life, and a strong faith in God. He was always smiling, laughing, and making jokes. He was a source of joy and inspiration for his family and friends.
A Sudden Death and a Lasting Legacy
Unfortunately, Kemper Durand’s life was cut short by a sudden illness. He contracted the flu in early February 2013, and was recovering at home. On February 16, 2013, he died unexpectedly in a chair near the fireplace, with his wife by his side. He was 64 years old. His death was a shock and a sorrow for his family, friends, and community. He was loved and admired by many, and his loss left a void in their hearts. His funeral arrangements were handled by Memorial Park Funeral Home in Memphis. His visitation was held on February 20, 2013, and his funeral service was held on February 21, 2013, at Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Memphis. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in his favorite places. His body was donated to medical research, as a final gesture of his generosity and service.
Kemper Durand was a brilliant lawyer, a loving husband, a beloved father, and a loyal friend. He had a remarkable career and a joyful life. He left behind a legacy of courage, kindness, and generosity, and inspired his family and friends to live each day to the fullest. He will always be remembered by his family, friends, and fans.