Sherman D. Durst
(The following information was submitted for a paid obituary.)
SHERMAN D. DURST
September 13, 1952 ~ May 28, 2013
Sherman D. Durst of Fredericksburg passed away on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at his home, at the age of 60 years.
Funeral services were held Friday, May 31, at 10 a.m., at Holy Ghost Lutheran Church with the Rev. David Priem officiating.
Graveside services and interment followed at Greenwood Cemetery.
Pallbearers included Eric Zey, Charles Kiehne, Jamie Sparks, Bill Rank, Bob Surma, Jim Thomas, Gavin Cain and Caleb Hail
Honorary pallbearers were Austin, Kyle, Mallory, Katy and Kimmy Durst, Rex Weinheimer and Ryan Wille.
Visitation was held Thursday evening, May 30, and Friday morning, May 31, in the chapel of Schaetter Funeral Home, and at the church before the funeral.
Sherman was born in Fredericksburg, Texas on Sept. 13, 1952.
He is survived by his wife, Rhonda Durst of Fredericksburg; parents, Woodrow and Ethelyn Durst of Fredericksburg; brothers: Douglas Durst of Houston, Ricky Durst and Carey Durst, both of Fredericksburg.
Also surviving are stepchildren: Wesley Ramsey of Harper, Ashley and Justin Bryant of Plano, Ty Ramsey of San Antonio and Shanley Ramsey of San Antonio, and grandson, Gage Bryant.
Survivors also include nieces and nephews: Austin, Kyle, Mallory, Katy and Kimmy Durst; a sister- and brother-in-law, Wanda Griffin and Chris Kaiser; nieces and nephews: Ransom and Ashley Rust, Cole Rust and Alli Rust.
Sherman graduated from Fredericksburg High School in 1971, and attended Tarleton State University as an agriculture major before transferring to Southwest Texas State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, and a teaching certificate.
He entered real estate in 1978, and began working for Clinton and Ellie Herber of CC Herber Co. Real Estate.
In 1985, he purchased Fredericksburg Realty. Sherman spent 35 years dedicated to the real estate industry. Farm and Ranch sales were a part of his real estate expertise, which echoed his intrinsic love of the Hill Country.
Sherman believed in continued education and community involvement and gave of his time liberally even in his illness.
He served as a Fredericksburg City Councilman, a city Planning and Zoning Commissioner, Chairman of the early Oktoberfest celebrations, President (and VP) of the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, co-sponsor of the Fredericksburg 150th Anniversary, President of the Gillespie County Board of Realtors, as the first president of the Fredericksburg’s Shopkeepers Guild, a member of the Texas Tech Hill Country University System’s Higher Education Steering Committee, and on numerous other city and county foundations, historical societies and special event boards.
Sherman even made a national appearance on HGTV as a special advisor on real estate, and was a frequent contributor to local and statewide periodicals.
Sherman was a big-hearted giver, always giving generously of his money and time to practically any organization that walked in the doors of Fredericksburg Realty in need of a donation, and he supported local fundraisers often. He valued this city and treasured the history of the county.
He had an extensive collection of Fredericksburg memorabilia on display at Fredericksburg Realty. He often attended local auctions, purchasing Fredericksburg history. His motto was, “Bid it to get it!” Sherman loved shopping for antiques, and attended the antique shows at Warrington and Round Top twice yearly and just recently in April.
He loved the outdoors; gardening and canning vegetables, entering his goods in to the Gillespie County Fair and winning several first place ribbons, even the award of “Best Pickle”. His delicious pickles were favored among family and friends.
Hunting season was always a special time of year for Sherman with many weekends being spent filling feeders and hunting.
He loyally supported the Battlin Billies sports program, often attending football, basketball, volleyball and softball games.
Sherman thrived on knowledge and news and would often be reading three books at one time and subscribed to multiple newspapers across the country. He enjoyed travelling which entailed reading multiple books and magazines learning all he could about the places he would visit. He spent many weekends at his ranch in Loyal Valley soaking up the Hill Country landscape that he loved so dearly.
Sherman was a faithful advisor, encouraging, full of wit, and a true friend to so many people. His wonderful laugh and funny stories, and quotes of the day will be missed by many.
The following eulogy was delivered at Sherman’s funeral by his brother-in-law, Chris Kaiser:
I am not talented enough a speaker to stand up here and do justice to the life of Sherman Durst.
The best I can hope to do in a few short moments and with not too many words, is remind you of some of the wonderful and unique qualities of our dear friend, who could not be adequately described regardless of the moments or words you’d be willing to give me.
I introduced Sherman to an “Auslander” a few months ago and jokingly introduced him as Mr. Fredericksburg. But, boy, wasn’t that the truth. There is scarcely a board or committee that he hasn’t served on or chaired. Things like Oktoberfest as we know it now might not even exist if it hadn’t been for Sherman’s love of this community.
Many of you know that Sherman attended some of the pool committee and city manager search committee meetings well into the latter stages of his illness. He also did his best to keep attending Billies’ games and he even voted in our last election. Sherman loved Fredericksburg and its stewardship was a responsibility that came as natural to him as breathing.
A symbol of his love for this town is his decades old obsession with Fredericksburg memorabilia, which made him a regular feature at the local estate sales (if not a popular one). But he didn’t box and hoard these relics like many of us would.
He cataloged them with museum curator-like precision and saving them for posterity was just an extension of his ingrained feeling of service and responsibility to his beloved city. I think with regard to community and volunteerism and giving back, not only did Sherman do a lot of it, but he did it a different way.
Lots of folks, myself included, might say things like, “Man these youngsters could use some better facilities, and we oughta do something about that.” Sherman’s approach on the other hand would have been more along the line of “These kids could use some better facilities, maybe we could sell popcorn at their games. I’ll buy the machine, I’ll work the first ten games and I’ll handle the scheduling for the rest of the season.”
Sherman’s chosen career was clearly an extension of what I’ve already been speaking about, but I’d like to go into that a little more. The passion and dedication that Sherman brought to the table was un-rivaled. It’s like he was a machine that ran on information and data, and the more he ate, the hungrier he got.
I remember thinking sometimes about the market reports he would put together. I’d wonder what in the world could one possibly do with that information and how difficult it must have been to compile. “In the second half of the second quarter of ’05, sales of blue houses were up 30 percent over the same period in ’04. In units that is! It’s 40 percent in dollars!” Rest assured though, he knew how to use that information, either to make a sale or help someone or think of a new idea.
His thirst for knowledge didn’t stop at real estate. Maybe it had something to do with his journalism background from college but Rhonda told me that every once in a while he’d tell her about something obscure that happened in Lubbock or Corpus Christi. One day she said, “Sherman, where do you hear this stuff?” He said, “I subscribe to their papers on my IPHONE,” as if everybody did.
I think I digressed a little there but I’m trying to demonstrate how all of this reading and learning and work tied back into the center of who Sherman was: If he did it at all, HE DID IT BIG. In a place where sometimes were accused of being square-headed and set in our ways, Sherman couldn’t have been further from that.
Sherman used, applied, or outright invented marketing and advertising techniques way ahead of his time. And he always insisted on the newest technology to do it and to hone his craft.
I heard Ricky talking last night about a story he had just confirmed with Sherman’s good friend, Bill Warner: The newspaper had the first fax machine in Fredericksburg, Sherman had the second. Those ten pound cellular phones: same story.
Work Ethic: It’s been some time ago, but I know it was during a session of chemo or some period where Sherman wasn’t feeling up to par. For a month or so, in front of Rhonda and Sherman’s house was a trailer with a Gator and a bunch of t-posts and PVC pipe and an array of the most horrible kind of tools. Every weekend, it was gone, and so were they. It turns out there was a big new listing out somewhere in the county, unfenced and too thick to get to the survey pins.
Sherman decided he and Rhonda really needed to get the perimeter marked with the white pipes sticking up through the cactus and briars so the customers could see what they were looking at.
That’s how he spent a month of his weekends when he didn’t feel good and by most accounts had “made it” in his career. Anyone who’s ever driven by a Durst Homes jobsite might have some idea where that came from. Now all this talk about fax machines and t-posts has a point. Sherman was a leader and a pioneer in a service industry and sold service as much as houses or ranches.
A few months ago I got a call from a potential customer from out of state about building a home in the Hill Country. He asked some questions about the house but mostly about where to build it. After a few minutes of this, I said he really needed to talk to a realtor. He said no, no, he didn’t have a lot of faith in those guys and with the internet and all, he didn’t really need one. I told him I respectfully disagreed, that there was nuance and personalization that was lost on an internet or newspaper ad and I thought he’d be pleasantly surprised if he gave my brother-in-law a call.
A trip to Texas was scheduled and a day with Sherman was spent. The gentleman called me a few days later and you’d have thought I’d given him the lotto numbers. Basically, he gushed that he had never received that level of personal service, of any kind, ever.
I was telling Sherman once about some deal I thought I’d come out on the raw end of and after which the folks had told me it was “just business, nothing personal.” I guess I was trying to feel better and gain a little wisdom in the process. Sherman came through on both counts. He said, “Chris, all businesses are owned by a person. All business is personal. That’s what it’s all about.”
Sherman truly was an institution. He was bigger than life and he lived every day like it was his last. He did 120 years of living in the 60 that we were blessed with him.
Remaining true to the form with those who knew and love him are intimately familiar, Sherman spent his last days on God’s earth in spectacular fashion. After his usual exhaustive research, glued to his laptop for hours on end, Sherman decided that the best thing for a severely ill and physically debilitated person to do was embark upon a grueling, yet spiritually beautiful road trip with his beloved wife Rhonda, her sister, Wanda, and niece Alli.
The terminus of their journey was a place of spiritual healing called Bethel Church, located in the city of Redding, in northern California. He began the trip on a mattress, set up in the back of the suburban; but quickly discarded it to sit up and visit with his companions.
Always the loved of all things educational, he insisted that the nearly 4,000 mile round-trip allow time for a visit to San Francisco, where he enjoyed lobster and showing Alli the Golden Gate Bridge, a meandering drive down the pacific Coast Highway, where the Redwoods and Pacific were enjoyed by all, dinner at a renowned restaurant, “Jaks”, where he and Rhonda celebrated their anniversary; and a visit to an architectural wonder known as the “Sundial Bridge”, where to everyone’s amazement on that beautiful day, he jogged and skipped across.
The long drive home was noticeably hard on Sherman physically, but when repeatedly asked how he was, he would simply repeat the phrase he had uttered many time before, “There are lots of people worse off than me.”
Sherman hung on for five more days after returning home, before embarking upon his final journey. Those days were spent graciously receiving a steady stream of friends and family for whom he never let the visit be about him.
We are grateful for having known Sherman and thankful for the various travels we all had with him. We look forward to the next one.
Mr. and Mrs. Durst, Douglas, Ricky, Carrie, Austin, Mallory, Kyle, Katy, Kimmy, Ty and Wes, Ash and Shan and Rhonda, I am deeply sorry for your loss. But all of you, like all of us, and all of our community, are better because Sherman lived.
I hope I didn’t disappoint if any of you were expecting stories about Luckenbach, or Southwest Texas State University, or Chili Cook Offs or football games. I didn’t feel it was my place as those stories started being written before I was born.
So I hope you’ll all come to Marktplatz after this and tell them yourselves. I’d love to hear some. For every story we will release a balloon, we bought out everybody in town and we have close to 1,000.
Thank you for letting me know you Sherman and I hope you don’t sell all the dirt up there before I see you again.
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Memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the Hill Country Community Needs Council, Boys and Girls Club, Gillespie County Historical Society, Admiral Nimitz Foundation or to the charity of one’s choice.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent at www.schaetter.com.
Arrangements were under the direction of the Schaetter Funeral Home of Fredericksburg.