Obituary: Laurel Naomi Durham
March 20, 1923 – December 21, 2022
Laurel Naomi Osborn was born on March 20, 1923, to Effie M. and Charley B. Osborn, the youngest of nine children. Her older siblings were Everette, Marion, Edith, Floyd, Lowell, Clarence (Bill), Kenneth, and Kermit. She was born at a boarding house in Craig and went home to live on the family ranch on Deer Creek in southeast Moffat County. There was no running water then, and no indoor plumbing. To get to town, one went by saddle horse or wagon. In winter, straw was piled in the bottom of the wagon and then covered with blankets to keep everyone warm. When she was old enough to attend school, Naomi rode by horseback over the hill between Deer Creek and Morapos Creek and attended the Morapos School. To attend 9th grade, she stayed with her sister and brother-in-law, Edith and Albert Ottens and went to the Hamilton School. She was a good student, and an avid reader. She read everything she could get her hands on, and the love of books was something that endured her whole life. Naomi had a love of horses and cattle. She ran cattle of her own, along with her family on a forest permit. She also gentled and trained at least one saddle horse, Nappy. When her brother Kermit entered the Navy, he asked her to work with a little mare of his that was green broke. Since she was a small horse, bareback was preferred. The mare, Annie, became very protective of Naomi, and would lean against the fence and stand to make sure she was safely mounted. Naomi started dating Harry L. Durham Jr. of Williams Fork in the 1940’s. Dating was difficult in the winters. Harry would either visit her on horseback or ski between the two ranches. They both enjoyed cross country skiing, before it was known as such. One summer, they took part in a square dance on horseback for the rodeo. Harry rode Flicker, and Naomi borrowed a horse, as Nappy didn’t care for it. Flicker got into the routine so well that she barred her teeth and would bite if any of the other horses in the group crossed on the wrong side or otherwise got out of line. Naomi and Harry were married on August 12, 1951. They moved to their home, the Van James Ranch near Axial, where they raised cattle. To this union was born; Phyllis (Don) Myers, Evelyn (Richard) Ott, Lois (Frank) Sampson, and Curtis (Leslee) Durham. During the 1960’s, in addition to cattle, the family raised chickens and sold eggs. The eggs were delivered by the case to Safeway in Craig. Naomi and Harry also bought a flock of Hampshire-Down sheep from her brother, Kenneth. The sheep prospered despite some family prejudice. Early in her life Naomi was a member of the Eastern Star. Later as her family grew she drove the school bus, was on the Axial school board, and was a supportive force for 4-H and other activities that her children were involved with. She was a faithful attender of the Hamilton Sunday School for many years. She became a member of the Craig Christian Church, serving in the nursery, as well as the chairman of the deaconesses. Later, she attended Meeker Christian Church. She worked at Empire Energy for a time and was a caregiver for her mother for a number of years. On the death of her husband, Harry, in 1983, she continued to live and work on the family ranch. She especially enjoyed being in the outdoors. She loved to camp and enjoyed trips with her niece, Jeanne Durham. She loved to garden and shared that knowledge as well as seedlings and planets with anyone who asked. She taught her daughters life lessons such as canning, freezing, quilting, sewing, gardening, handwork, and care of livestock and poultry, and gave invaluable advice and commonsense suggestions on child rearing and childhood ailments. She was blessed with twelve grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. She greatly enjoyed time spent with them and was a willing babysitter when asked. She also enjoyed visiting her relatives and became close friends with many of her neighbors. Naomi resided in Walbridge Wing in Meeker from August 24, 2015 until she went to be with the Lord on December 21, 2022. She is proceeded in death parents, her siblings, her husband Harry and her son, Curtis. She is survived by her three daughters, her 12 grandchildren; Lindsey (Josh) Allred, Michelle (Jerry) Cox, Ty (Amanda) Ott, Amber (Wade) Shults, Amy (Oran) Rundberg, Lee (Katie) Sampson, Wyatt (Stephanie) Sampson, Clint (Shelby) Sampson, Levi (Jill) Durham, Trent (Ashley) Durham, Rex (Samantha) Durham, Kaylee (Curtis) Peterson, and 26 great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 21, 2023 at Craig Christian Church. A reception will follow. Memorial donations may be made payable to Kulpahar Kids Home and Christian School in care of Grant Mortuary.
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