Edward Alfred Durham, for many years caretaker of Buffalo Bisons baseball fields in Offermann, then War Memorial Stadium and a Buffalo resident from 1958 to 1999, died Wednesday in Atlanta. He was 91.
Mr. Durham, who was known as "Eddie," was born in Dedham, Mass., and was a baseball and football star at Hyde Park High School in Boston. He attended the University of West Virginia and Boston College on athletic scholarships.
He had two careers, the first for 34 years. He worked on the grounds crew for the Boston Red Sox in 1936. In 1938, he became the superintendent at Parkway Field for the Louisville Colonels. Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers moved him to Brooklyn to be head groundskeeper at Ebbets Field.
Don Labruzzio, general manager of the Bisons, brought him to Buffalo as park superintendent for the old Offermann Stadium. He remained with the team through lean years at War Memorial Stadium until the Bisons folded as a Triple A baseball team. He also managed War Memorial Stadium during the early years of the Buffalo Bills.
His second career began in 1969, when he and his wife, Dolly, joined the Buffalo-based Durham Companies, established by their three sons. They retired in 1982.
They lived in Louisville from 1939 to 1948, in Brooklyn from 1948 to 1951, Long Island from 1951 to 1958, then in Buffalo until 1999.
Mr. Durham provided consulting services in stadium management and grounds to more than a dozen major league teams and initiated the development of "Dodger Town" at the naval base in Vero Beach, Fla., in 1948.
He also was credited for prompting McGregor Co. to develop rubber cleats instead of metal ones for the shoes of athletes, a concept now used in many sports.
In his younger years, he played semipro baseball and was an avid turkey hunter.
His wife of 60 years, Evelyn "Dolly" Demro Durham, died in 1999.
Survivors include three sons, Barry and Brian, both of Atlanta, and Peter of Buffalo; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
A memorial Mass was offered today in St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Smyrna, Ga.