Charles "Chuck" Olin Durnett
(September 18, 1941 – July 4, 2008)
Charles “Chuck” Olin Durnett, 66, of Little Rock died on July 4, 2008. A native of Colorado, Chuck traveled extensively in his youth as the ward of his older brother, a non-commissioned officer in the Air Force. After earning a degree in Mathematics from Missouri Valley College, he married and began a family. A position with Dun & Bradstreet brought Chuck to Little Rock in 1972, where he established himself in the business, non-profit, and political arenas. At the time of his death, he was a former political consultant, a past President of the Arkansas Society of Association Executives, former Vice President of the Arkansas Credit Union League, a past Commander of the General Robert C. Newton Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a past president of the Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trail, a member of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, the Arkansas Division Commander of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, editor of the Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas, a commentator on governmental and political affairs, and a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.
Charles Durnett is survived by his wife, Kay Durnett, his son and daughter-in-law Jason Durnett and Debbie Smiley of St. Louis, Missouri, his son and daughter-in-law Jairus Durnett and Tammy Slish of Memphis, Tennessee, his daughter and son-in-law Jennelle and Timothy Richardson of Zionsville, Indiana, and six granddaughters.
A memorial service will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1000 N. Mississippi Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 1:00 p.m., with Roller-Chenal Funeral Home, (501)224-8300 assisting.
The family asks that donations be made to the Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trail Foundation, P.O. Box 20905, White Hall, Arkansas 71612 in lieu of flowers.
A Word From A Friend About Chuck:
I very well remember the first time I laid eyes on Charles Durnett, I was not impressed. I also remember hearing him speak his first nonscripted words and once again I was not impressed. In fact I was distressed and thought we are going to have to deal with this boob and he is the Commander of the Little Rock Camp.
I must put things into perspective before going further. Several years ago the reenactors of central Arkansas performed the retrial of David O. Dodd at the Annual DOD Ceremonies held each year in January. Charles was one of the Union Officers who held young David O. Dodd’s life in the balance and all Charles O. Durnett would say was "Guilty". Every time he was asked a question by the prosecutor "Guilty" was his response.
Afterwards at the SCV Executive Council Meeting for the Arkansas Division the Charles introduced himself as the new Commander of the R.C. Newton Camp and said "And I can probably insult you all". My first thought was the about the already disgusting play I had witnessed and now one of the hanging officers was continuing with a non Confederate attitude. He is going to get his comeuppance.
However, this was not the case. This was just the wry extra dry sense of humor that Charles O. Durnett possessed and he was extremely prolific about using it. There are few Compatriots who could carry off a joke with such a straight face and deadpan expression. Just this last April during the Annual Arkansas Division Convention Commander Durnett surprised me with the CSS Arkansas Award. This was one he had personally named and my receiving it was a total surprise. This was the way Charles liked things. He enjoyed watching the expression change on someone’s face as the wind went out of their sails or the blood ran from their cheeks.
A hearty laugh was a good cure for most things and Charles enjoyed jokes whether he was giving or recieving. The butt or the head no difference.
In the past few years I have called him by several names: Chucky Baby, Our Chubby Little Commander, or Charles "The Zero" Durnett and perhaps a couple I cannot put in print however, each one was with a love and admiration for him as both my friend and compatriot.
And as his friend and fellow compatriot I say that the Arkansas Division has lost a good man and solid Confederate. It saddens my heart thinking about no longer being able to go down to the "Wierdo" place on 6th street in Little Rock after Executive Council Meetings and sharing pizza, calzones,and a pitcher of cold beer. Charles O. Durnett is no longer with us and he will be missed however I am sure the Good Lord will look on the Charles O not as Charles "Zero" but instead he will see Charles O. and the O stands for Original, the one and only, my friend and Commander. You are gone but your memory will long be with us.
Affectionately and Reverently Submitted