Obituary of Durbin R. Pearson, Jr.
Durbin R. Pearson, a commodities transportation broker for half a century, died Monday, January 8, 2024, of congestive heart failure at his daughter’s home in Lake Wales Florida. He was 77 and a long-time resident of Lake Hamilton.
Born in Daytona Beach on March 6, 1946, Durb’s family moved to Winter Haven when he was an infant. He attended local schools, graduating from Winter Haven High in 1964 where he starred on the golf team. He attended the University of South Florida for a spell, then dropped out for a life of adventure exploring the country.
Eventually the Vietnam War caught up with him and he was drafted into the U.S. Army where spent his tour of duty stationed in Germany. After being honorably discharged he resumed his studies, graduating from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Following college, he was employed as a social worker in New York until, in the early 1970s, his father died and he returned to Winter Haven to care for his mother and run his dad’s truck brokerage.
Throughout the years Durb brokered the shipment of countless tons of citrus, watermelons, vegetables and other produce that eventually landed on the breakfast and dinner tables of countless households. Driven and meticulous, he appeared indefatigable, often working through the night when troubles arose – as they invariably did when dealing with the oft-conflicting requirements of growers, independent truckers and buyers.
During especially busy seasons his ear seemed glued to the phone as he employed his own highly distinctive and brutally efficient means of handling problems regarding shipments, deliveries, breakdowns, accidents, monetary disputes, road closures, bad actors, food spoilage and myriad other issues. He learned to expect the unexpected and did so with sardonic humor and his customary sense of proportion. Though slowed by illness near the end, he continued working until the last week of his life.
His first two marriages ended in divorce. He was married for 36 years to Darleen Pearson, with whom he traveled the country and the world until her death in 2021. He was also preceded in death by his father, mother and sister Susan. He is survived by his devoted daughter Dana Tolley-Zenteno, her husband Henry Zenteno, and grandchildren Leah Ormond, Billy Ormond and Kique Zenteno as well as Durb’s beloved and faithful canine companion Ricky.
Opinionated, stubborn, iconoclastic and highly intelligent, Durb read widely, studied history, abhorred political hypocrisy and though a very private person, proved a dear friend to a close circle of confidants.
A memorial service will be held in the chapel of First Presbyterian Church in Winter Haven at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 19, 2024. Condolences may be sent to the family at oakridgefuneralcare.com.
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