Durema Fitzgerald Kohl of Wheaton, formerly of Glen Ellyn and Lawrence, Kansas, died March 16, 2021. She is survived by her children, Laura Kohl Dare (Jack) of Downers Grove and Allan Tyler Kohl (Katherine) of Coon Rapids, Minnesota; four grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a brother, Lamont Newton Fitzgerald. Preceding her in death were her husband of 67 years, Robert Tyler Kohl; and a brother, Walter Curtis Fitzgerald, Jr.
Durema was born on April 7, 1924 in Raleigh, North Carolina, the daughter of Lillie Gresham Fitzgerald and Walter Curtis Fitzgerald, Sr. She attended Meredith College in Raleigh, and graduated with a B.A. in Music and a B.Mus. in piano performance from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. A resident of Glen Ellyn from 1952-1984, she was active as a pianist in chamber ensembles while serving as organist for churches in Glen Ellyn, Lombard, and Wheaton.
After the Kohls moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 1984, Durema earned a Master’s degree in Church Music at the University of Kansas, while serving as organist at the St. Lawrence Center on campus and also as staff accompanist for the Music Department. While resident in Lawrence, she performed solo organ programs at the University and at the Cathedral in Topeka, and accompanied graduate students in their degree recitals.
Returning to the Chicago area in 1999, Bob and Durema resided at the Wyndemere retirement community in Wheaton, where she enjoyed playing for Sunday vesper services. A member of the Fox Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, she was a frequent substitute at a number of area churches and interim organist/choir director at Trinity Episcopal Church in Wheaton. A gifted accompanist, she also continued to perform in programs with area vocal and instrumental soloists and ensembles. Those musicians with whom she performed praised both her sensitivity and her reassuring yet disciplined approach to rehearsal and performance.
Durema’s family, friends, and musical colleagues will cherish the memory of her lively eyes, warm smile, and engaging, outgoing personality. Her children and grandchildren will be forever grateful for her constant encouragement and loving expressions of support.
c/o K.W. Owen, P.O. Box 1785, Warrenville, IL 60555.
“Being missed so deeply is the price for having been loved so much.”
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