Annie Agnes Bishop Durst of College Station passed away peacefully on December 15, 2011 with family at her side. She had been in declining health since shortly after her 100th birthday. Annie had lived in College Station since she married her sweetheart Nelson Durst in 1941.
Annie was born to John William and Janie Snowden Bishop on September 21, 1911 on her grandfather’s farm north of Georgetown in the Berrys Creek Community. The Bishops were some of the early settlers of Williamson County. Annie and her older sister Iola were raised on a small farm and attended church and early elementary school in the Berrys Creek community. The school, Methodist Church, and community center were in one building, which became the Bishop’s barn when a new building was constructed down the road. Annie joined the Methodist Church early in life. For later elementary school Annie and Iola rode into Georgetown in a buggy pulled by their little horse Dolly. Annie graduated from Georgetown High School in 1927 and went to college at Southwestern University in Georgetown.
At age 18, after attending college three semesters, Annie received a teaching certificate and began teaching the first four grades in Walburg, Texas, near Georgetown. She continued to attend Southwestern University in the summers and took correspondence courses. By 1935, she had enough credits to graduate in one year, so she resigned her teaching position and attended Southwestern full time. On the first day of class that year, Annie met her future husband, Nelson Durst, in an advanced mathematics class. Annie, Nelson, and Annie’s sister Iola received their degrees from Southwestern University in June 1936; Annie’s degree was in Mathematics.
In 1936, jobs were scarce. Nelson heard that Mason High School in Mason, Texas, where he had graduated, had an opening for a math teacher. Annie got the job and stayed five years, teaching all the high school math classes, which included many of Nelson’s cousins! She also coached women’s softball. In those five years, Nelson continued to pursue his education at the A&M College of Texas, now known as Texas A&M University. When Nelson finished his master’s degree and had a “permanent” job as instructor of Accounting at A&M, he proposed to Annie and they were married in her parents’ house on August 30, 1941. They settled in College Station and never left. Annie and Nelson had been married over 69 years when he passed away on December 6, 2010.
Soon after her arrival in College Station, Annie joined Nelson in becoming a member of A&M Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School and was an active member of the Women’s Society of Christian Service (now the United Methodist Women) and of the Susanna Wesley Circle. Annie was active in serving Aggies through the Maroon and White Corps of the A&M Methodist Wesley Foundation. She probably baked a million cookies for the students.
Annie was a devoted wife and helped Nelson in his business and academic life. In the early days of Nelson’s accounting practice, Annie was the office staff, answering the phone, making copies with the foul smelling Bruning copier (before modern copiers), making trips to clients’ homes to pick up or deliver tax return materials, and keeping supper hot while waiting for him to arrive home after a long workday. Annie was an excellent homemaker, seamstress, cook, gardener, bird watcher, and caregiver for her family and friends. Her faith in God was deep and apparent in all she did and said. She believed in the power of prayer and had several experiences where miracles happened as a result of her prayers with God giving her signs of answered prayer before witnessing the actual results. Annie celebrated her 100th birthday in September with several parties in her honor. She fell several months ago and her health declined after that.
Annie’s pride and joy were her children, grandchildren, and great grandsons. She is survived by daughters Janet Durst Nicholls and husband Bill of Palo Alto, CA and Margaret Durst Godfrey of College Station, her grandchildren Emilie Sweet of Palo Alto, Marjorie Sweet McPherson and her husband Brian of Riverside, CA, and Larry L. Godfrey Jr. and his wife Lydia of College Station, who are the parents of her great grandsons Zachary Daniel and Dylan Ray Godfrey. Another great grandson William “Liam” Day McPherson is due mid-January 2012. In addition to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, Annie is survived by her sister-in-law Lillian Durst Gips and her husband Paul of Dallas, cousins, nieces and nephews, and many, many friends and other family, who will miss her beautiful smile and kind words.
Annie Durst will be remembered in a service at the A&M United Methodist Church at 1:30 p.m., Monday, December 19, 2011. The family will receive friends during visitation from 5 to 7 p.m., Sunday, December 18, 2011, at Callaway-Jones Funeral Home in Bryan. Interment will be at College Station Cemetery in a private service.
Annie’s family is grateful to all those who cared for and visited both Annie and Nelson through the last several years. In particular we thank the loving, caring staff of A&M United Methodist Church, Esperanza, Thrive Home Health, HomeInstead, The Medical Center at College Station, and Hospice of Brazos Valley.
Annie and Nelson endowed several scholarships in memory of their parents at their favorite universities, Southwestern University and Texas A&M University School of Business. Memorial contributions for Annie Durst can be made to A&M United Methodist Church or Hospice of Brazos Valley.