(Obituary from Paper)
RITES TODAY FOR WILLIAM P. DURRETT, 93
47-year DISD veteran was first principal at Kimball High School
Memorial services for William P. "Bill" Durrett, the first principal of Kimball High School, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Laurel Land Funeral Home. Burial services were Friday at Laurel Land Mausoleum and Memorial Park. The 47-year veteran of the Dallas school district died Dec. 23 at a local hospital. He was 93.
Mr. Durrett began his career in the Dallas Independent School District in 1930 as a history teacher and coach at what is now Adamson High School. In 1941, he became one of the few people in the district to simultaneously hold the position of the principal at two schools, Margaret B. Henderson and Winnetka Elementary schools.
While he was principal of Winnetka, his son, William R. "Bob" Durrett, was a student. "He knew I was in trouble before I did," Bob Durrett said. The younger Mr. Durrett has followed in his father's educational footsteps, serving as the current principal of Richard Lagow Elementary School in the Dallas district.
In 1952, Mr. Durrett, "Papa D" to many of his students, became principal of Boude Story Middle School, working there until 1958, when he was chosen to become the first principal of Kimball High School. He remained at Kimball until his retirement in 1974. Bob Durrett said his father was a strict but compassionate man when it came to his students. "If you worked, and you tried, and you did everything you could, he was the softest touch," he said.
He said his father especially enjoyed working in high schools because of the extracurricular activities, which he felt kept some students from dropping out of school. He said Mr. Durrett thought that students who were particularly academically inclined might find an affinity for band, choir, sports or some other school program and that to stay in the program, they'd stay in school. He said his father didn't sway from a strict no-pass, no-play policy - in effect in his schools years before it became a law.
In addition to his son, Mr. Durrett is survived by a daughter, Barbara Stidham of Sonoma Calif.; 11 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.