Jose' Ignacio Duran, Sr., 91, of Harrah, Oklahoma, formerly of Shelbyville, entered his eternal life on January 24th, 2008. He was born on May 5, 1916, in Colima, Mexico to Estela Concepcion and Santos Lepe Duran. His father was a French soldier working for the government during the Mexican Revolution and was killed in front of a firing squad by Poncho Villa a month before Jose' was born. At age seven, Jose entered the United States with his mother and settled in St. Louis, Missouri. He received his American citizenship papers in St. Louis, on December 12, 1941.
As an adult, he worked at the St. Louis City Hall as a Draftsman and taught math before entering the Army in April 1944. He was immediately sent to Germany. He served in the 29th Infantry Regiment and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Rhineland, and the Battle of Central Europe during WWII. After the war ended, he was stationed at Army Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. During his service in the Armed Forces, he received the Combat Infantry Badge, the World War II Victory Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, 3 Overseas Bars, the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with 2 Bronze Stars, and he turned down a Purple Heart Medal out of honor to his fallen friends. He also helped liberate Dachau Concentration Camp in April 1945. He was Honorably Discharged from the Army on May 8, 1946 and returned to St. Louis and married Ruth Anne Rohrer on May 16, 1946. They had nine children, Jose Jr., Diana, Ana, Thomas, Estela, Patricia, John, Christopher, and Ruth Anne.
Upon returning to civilian life, he worked at a small arms factory during the Korean War, and then, in 1959, the ever-growing family moved to the rural town of Squires, Missouri, where they farmed for nine years. Then they moved to Ava, Missouri, in 1967, where Jose worked as an industrial sewing machine mechanic for Rawlings and Spalding sporting goods. He also opened a small business in their home where he repaired sewing machines and sold new ones. When the factory closed in 1973, Ruth & Jose', along with their four youngest children, moved to Shelbyville, Kentucky. Jose' was employed at McGregor Brunswick in Eminence for one year, and then worked for Louisville Manufacturing in Louisville, where he was an industrial sewing machine mechanic and head of maintenance. He retired in 1982, at the age of 66. During this time they also started a small business in their home, called "Duran's Sewing Center" at 10th and Main Street in Shelbyville. He repaired sewing machines and she sold new ones, along with other odds and ends. They closed the business in 1987 due to their declining health. In 1994, Jose had a major heart attack, and then in 1997, they moved to Birmingham, AL, to be closer to their son John. During his retirement, he enjoyed making wooden trucks, boats, and animals for his grandchildren. In May 2006, Ruth & Jose' celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary and Jose's 90th Birthday with a family reunion and a cookout at his daughter, Estela's (Larry) home in Oklahoma, where the couple has been living due to declining health for the past three and a half years.
During his life, Jose' was a Kentucky Colonel, a life member of the American Legion Post 7 in Frankfort, a member of the Disabled American Veterans Post 155 in New Castle, a member of the 40 and 8 in Frankfort, and helped start a VFW Post in Shelbyville, where he was also a life member. He also served as 2-time Commander of Post 7, 2-time Commander of the 40 and 8, as well as Kentucky State Chaplain of the 40 and 8 for several years. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, 3rd Degree, in St. Louis. Over the years, he has been a member of St. Leo's Church in Ava, Missouri, the Church of the Annunciation, in Shelbyville, and St. Teresa's Church in Harrah, Oklahoma. Jose' also spoke several languages including Spanish, Hebrew, German, and Italian.