'I think I have been led all the way'

Playing organ still a love for 91-year-old mother

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Virginia "Ginny" Durant will be 92 in June, but each Sunday, she can be found playing the organ at one of two services at the Clarendon Baptist Church in Alcolu.

"She is a wonderful mother and a wonderful Christian lady," said her oldest son, Dr. James "Jimmy" Durant Jr., a pediatric physician in Sumter. "She is a wonderful example of living with the Lord."

Ginny Durant, who seemed a bit uncomfortable about receiving any extra attention, said she has lived a quiet life and raised her children.

"It's been a long 92 years, but it seems shorter," she said. "I think I have been led all the way."

Born Virginia Burke in Alcolu, she married James "Jack" Durant in 1948 after he returned from military service.

They had four children: James; Sarah Wells, who is a nurse with the South Carolina Department of Health; George, a CPA in Columbia; and Nancy Hubbard, who teaches at Laurence Manning Academy.

"My husband wouldn't let me work until they were all in school," she said.

Beginning in the early 1960s, she began work as a nurse in the office of Dr. Joe King, Jimmy Durant said, and later for Dr. Ramon Sy, before retiring at age 87.

"She didn't want to retire then," Jimmy Durant said.

Ginny Durant became a widow in in 1986, when James Durant Sr. died of a brain tumor. She is a cancer survivor, having had breast cancer, Jimmy Durant said.

"I wouldn't have made it without my faith," she said.

Jimmy Durant said playing the organ is one of the things she loves to do.

"She has been faithful to the Clarendon Baptist Church," Jimmy Durant said, and all four children were taught their faith in the Manning landmark.

Ginny Durant said she began to play music in high school, and the teacher would give her songs to play that Sunday in church.

After more than 70 years of playing the organ at church, does Mrs. Durant have a favorite hymn?

"All of them," she said. "Each one has a message."

Happy Mother's Day, Virginia "Ginny" Mae Burke Durant.