George M. Durrett

[ Age 90 ] Steel business owner collected coins, antiques and art.

November 13, 2007

George Mann Durrett, a retired steel business owner and art collector, died at his Glyndon home Saturday of complications from a fall he suffered last spring. He was 90.

Born in Baltimore and raised on East Lanvale Street, he was a 1935 City College graduate who earned a degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He also studied business administration at the Johns Hopkins University.

He served in the Army during World War II in the Pacific at Okinawa. He left military service as a sergeant.

He joined William G. Wetherall Inc., a steel business, after the war and rose from a file clerk to purchasing agent to executive vice president. In 1963, he joined a co-worker, Daniel H. Sheppard, to form Durrett-Sheppard Steel Co. on Eastern Avenue. He retired in 1997 when he sold the business.

Family members said Mr. Durrett and his firm provided steel for many structures, including portions of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

He was the 1963 president of the Steel Club of Baltimore.

Active in the community, he ran a membership campaign for the Towson YMCA, and worked through the Highlandtown Kiwanis Club to assist the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He was also active in CICHA, a forerunner of the United Way. A Mason, he belonged to the Oriental Lodge.

He collected coins, antiques and art, including the works of the British-born American painter John George Brown.

He was a donor to the Walters Art Museum, the Washington County Museum, the Cincinnati House in Washington, the old Peale Museum and Tuxedo House in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

His wife of 64 years, the former Ethel May Smith, died in 2006.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Towson United Methodist Church, 501 Hampton Lane, where he was an active member. Mr. Durrett had been a division chairman in a 1957 campaign to build the church.

Survivors include three sons, Douglass M. Durrett of Durham, N.C., Roger W. Durrett of Charlotte, N.C., and Gary W. Durrett of Baltimore; a daughter, Kyle Durrett McEntee of Del Mar, Calif.; a sister, Shirley May Ashburn, of Baltimore; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

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