For those who knew him, Howard “Nub” Durham, Sr., was a fixture in the Fayette County community for decades. Though he passed away May 29, Nub will long be remembered as the proprietor of a fresh produce stand along Ga. Highway 54 between Fayetteville and Peachtree City.
A lifelong resident of Fayette County, Howard “Nub” Durham, Sr. was 87 years of age when he died during the nighttime hours of May 29. Nub’s passing came just one day short of two months following the death of Effie Pearl Durham, his wife of 67 years.
Nub and Pearl had five children, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. In all, five generations of the family has lived in Fayette County.
Three of the children, Charlotte Stargell, Barbara Arnold and Howard Durham, Jr. took time Monday to talk about their father, his life and his impact in the community he called home.
Howard, Jr. said Nub farmed property in the area of Ebenezer Road, once called Shakerag, and on both sides of Hwy. 54. He farmed the fields on the north side of Hwy. 54 across from Smith-Davis and Fred Smith Furniture for more than 50 years.
Originally a sharecropper, Nub planted cotton, though the crops later turned to a variety of vegetables.
“He worked 10-12 hours a day,” said Charlotte.
“Even on holidays,” Howard added. “He would go to the (produce) stand because ‘his customers expected him to be there.’”
But how did Nub get his nickname? His children said the name came when he was young, during an occasion when he and his brother were playing a game. It was one where one of the boys would stick a hand in a rubber boot, then snatch it out before the other brother could smack the boot with an axe.
“He was too late one time,” his children said of the silly game that gave their father his nickname for life.
Nub was around when the area called Peachtree City was known as “Clover,” Howard said.
“Peachtree City didn’t exist, except as corn and cotton fields,” he added.
Howard said while most of his father’s life was occupied with farming, he also worked at a sawmill and drove a school bus, adding that “all his life he worked outside.”
But Nub wasn’t the only hard worker. Barbara said their mother Pearl worked in the fields beside Nub all those years.
“And so did we,” she said with a chuckle.
“He never met a stranger. And he always saw the good in everybody, no matter what,” Charlotte said, reflecting on her father’s outlook and his life. “We were lucky to have a great set of loving parents.”
Barbara noted that not everyone who stopped by the produce stand came to buy vegetables.
“Some came to talk, sometimes for hours or to listen to his stories,” she explained, adding that many others came to get a jar of pepper sauce or preserves canned by Pearl.
Pearl passed away in March. Nub in recent times had seen the return of the cancer he had experienced some years earlier. Things finally got to the point that Nub could no longer go to the produce stand. He passed away on May 29 and Howard took the produce stand down after his father’s death.
The old produce stand on Hwy. 54 and the man who farmed the area for more than 50 years may be gone, but the memory of the man who never met a stranger lives on.