Tom Durbin was born Thomas Albert Durbin on January 10, 1935, at home in St. Mary’s, OH.  He left us on June 7, 2018, surrounded by his loving wife, Katie and daughters Susan Conniff, Amy Klein and Julia Izenberg.

He won a “most beautiful baby” contest and worked hard throughout his life to maintain that image through impeccable grooming and a large wardrobe of the best golf shirts money could buy.

Tom played football for the St. Mary’s Memorial High School Rough Riders and was a star baseball player for the American Legion league.  He worked during high school as a sports reporter for the St. Mary’s News Ledger and was a prolific letter-writer throughout his life on issues for which he was passionate.

Tom attended Miami of Ohio where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He began his career at Caterpillar Tractor in Peoria, IL where he remained for ten years and met his wife of 58 years, Barbara K. (Katie) Burnette. During this time he also served in the National Guard for seven years. In 1968, Tom and Katie moved to Sudbury, Massachusetts to start a Caterpillar Tractor dealership with Ed Witt, and to raise their own family.

Tom worked for Witt Equipment for 16 years before moving with Katie to Castle Rock, Colorado where he worked in venture capital and the golf industry until his retirement. He was particularly proud of SoloRider, a company he founded with Roger Pretekin that manufactured golf carts for disabled golfers. He and Katie lived on Cape Cod for five years and retired to beautiful Pinehurst, NC.

Tom was an accomplished golfer with a ten handicap, six holes-in-one and the very hard-to-achieve distinction of having shot his age. He and his ‘pard’, Walter Lankau, were inseparable on the golf course and together won many club championships at Nashawtuc CC in Concord, MA and Plum Creek CC in CO. He found golf groups and friends wherever he went, including the ‘Bandits” and the “Six Shooters.”

In addition to his wife and daughters, he leaves his sister, Diane Vincent, beloved sons-in-law Christopher Conniff, Glen Klein and Fred Izenberg, and his sweet granddaughters, Lauren, Megan, Carolyn, Olivia, Linda and Rachel. He was “one of a kind.”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Health Hospice (with special thanks to Kathy Coon), 251 Campground Road, West End, NC 27376 or the UVA Fibrosis Initiative.

Online condolences may be made at

Boles Funeral Home of Pinehurst is serving the family.

Mr. Durbin’s family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at Sandhills Sentinel.

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