James (Jim) M. Durrett, Jr. died November 8, 2018. He was born in Tucumcari, New Mexico on February 19, 1935 to James and Dorothy Durrett. Durrett’s father was an FBI agent and moved every 2-3 years in Texas and New Mexico. The family lived in Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, Hobbs, Carlsbad and Indianapolis, Indiana before returning permanently to New Mexico. Durrett attended Highland High School in Albuquerque where he played football and played harmonica in a cowboy band called the Rio Arriba Boys. He loved to talk about the State Champion football team and loved to tell stories about his teammates, especially future NFL Hall of Fame member Tommy McDonald. When he learned Tommy had been selected for the Hall of Fame, he would brag that “Tommy would never have even made it to college ball if I had not been blocking for him”. Durrett attended the University of New Mexico, and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 1957, then attended UNM Law School. He started law school in a class of 53 students and graduated with 10 of that class in 1960 (along with four transfers). He was admitted to practice August 11, 1960. After law school he moved to Farmington temporarily to live with his parents as he waited to go into the Army. He worked in the oilfield as a swamper on a truck for one day before receiving a call from Farmington attorney Marvin Baggett to come and work for him in his law firm for the same pay – $1.00 per hour. He worked for Marvin and Bill Baggett for almost a year before his active duty orders came and he went into the active military as part of the Army Reserves. After he finished active duty, he got a commission as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves where he spent about eight years. Durrett served as New Mexico Oil Conservation General Counsel from 1962 to 1966. He often carpooled with future Supreme Court Justice Mary Walters. He partnered with Jerry Rhodes and Orville McCallister in the law firm of Rhodes, McCallister and Durrett in Albuquerque from 1966 until the mid-1970s. One of the few law clerks that the firm hired was Charles Daniels who would go on to be the Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. After the firm dissolved, he worked as solo practitioner until 1983. Durrett served as Assistant University Counsel for UNM from 1983 to 1986 before returning to private practice. In 1990, Durrett moved back to Farmington and served as County attorney for San Juan County from 1990 to 2015. Durrett is survived by his wife of 57 years, Norma, his daughter Denise Durrett and his son James M. Durrett III. Durrett was a man of integrity and wisdom, and he will be missed.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations be made to one of these two children homes.
NM Christian Children's Home, 1356 NM 236 Portales, NM 88130 575-356-5372
Albuquerque Christian Children's Home, 5700 Winter Haven Dr. NW Albuquerque, NM 87120 505-898-5520