An appliance industry leader and beloved member of the AHAM family, Liston Durden, of Viking Range Corporation passed away on Saturday. He served as Chairman of the AHAM Board of Directors from 2004 to 2006 and of the Major Appliance Division Board of Directors from 2002 to 2004.
Liston’s perspective and view were unique. He brought tremendous passion and many new ideas to the industry. During his tenure at AHAM the product scope grew as did the membership as he consistently challenged us to think broadly of home appliances. In 2007, AHAM honored Liston with its most prestigious award, the Home Appliance Industry Leader award.
Quote from Fred Carl, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Viking Range Corporation:
“The major appliance industry has lost a true icon in Liston Durden, who was widely known and respected as an appliance industry guru. We had only been shipping product for two and a half years and were still a start-up when Liston joined Viking in 1989, and he helped me build this company over the ensuing years. Liston was a great teacher, and I learned a tremendous amount from him, for which I will be forever grateful. He was one of the finest, most caring and considerate people I have ever known. The planet will be different now that Liston is gone. This world desperately needs more people like Liston Durden.”
Read more to see the obituary.
Liston Porter Durden, beloved husband of Brenda and beloved daddy to Elizabeth and Sarah, died on Saturday, Jan. 22, in Memphis of a massive heart attack.
Liston was born in Sebring, Florida in 1946 and had a very loving relationship with his mother, Marcy, and his siblings, Amelia, Buddy, Marcy Gail, Mark, Candee, Byron, Derry and Dolores.
Liston graduated from high school in Madison, Georgia, where he was valedictorian of his senior class. He went on to Georgia State University in Atlanta for his undergraduate degree where he was a member of ROTC and served as battalion commander his senior year.
Earning high honors, he went into the Army as a First Lieutenant during the height of the Viet Nam war. He was sent to Germany where he served as Adjutant at Coleman Barracks. He and Brenda married in 1969 and they lived in Germany together and traveled. Liston developed a love and admiration for Germany - the beauty, the cleanliness, the hard work of the people. As God would have it, the week before his death, he and Brenda were in Germany for a Viking business trip.
He started working as a salesman at the age of 13 at a rural country store in Georgia and then to Atlanta in college selling shoes and furniture.
Liston received his Masters Degree from Georgia State University in International Business. He worked for General Electric, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, and finished his career in Greenwood at a little start-up company that has become world famous, Viking Range Corp.
Liston had many accomplishments in his career, but what most people remember of him is that he treated all life with respect and care. All people to him were intrinsically valuable, all animals needed to be protected. Liston’s daughters were taught to keep extra dog or cat food on hand. Their dad would say: “No animal should ever go hungry. Ever.”
Elizabeth and Sarah will always know that they had a daddy who had a “fix-it table” If something was broken, just put it on the fix-it table. Our hearts need to be there now.
He ended every conversation with his daughters, “If you need anything just call me.”
More than anything, he was loving, kind, considerate, a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He is a mixture of St. Francis - who cared for all life - and St. Joseph who cared for his little family. He did not preach with his mouth, he preached by the way he lived.
Liston is a tissue and organ donor.
There will be a Mass at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Memphis on Central Ave., Thursday, Jan. 27 at 3:00 with a reception to follow at the Durden Home, 569 S. Front St. There will be a memorial Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Greenwood at 1:00 on Friday, Jan 28 with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Memphis, Immaculate Heart of Mary and/or St. Francis Catholic Church in Greenwood or your local Humane Society. In Liston’s honor, don’t throw litter and if you see it, please pick it up. He was often heard saying, “If just one person would pick up a piece then it would make such a difference.”