James Durant (Pudney) was born in Holly Hill, South Carolina on December 24, 1943 to the late L. D. Durant and Martha (Sprinkle) Durant. He was the seventh of their nine children. On Monday July 26, 2021, James transitioned from labor to reward. James attended Elementary and High School in Holly Hill, South Carolina. James left Holly Hill, S.C. and moved to Brooklyn, NY in the 1960’s with his late aunt and uncle; Cliff and Bessie Washington, whom were entrepreneurs, and owned properties, including a Barber Shop on Fulton Street. James worked various jobs such as Floor Covering, Iron Works and Chef at the Iconic P. J. Clarkes ’Restaurant located at 915 Third Ave & 55th Street, NYC. While employed at Clarke’s Restaurant for more than three decades, he met and mingled with celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy, Dean martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Elizabeth Taylor, George Steinbrenner, Walt Frazier, Muhammed Ali and many others. James was an excellent cook. He traveled with the Special Events Staff at Clarkes’ from the Hamptons in New York, to Haiti, Caribbean Islands, Dominican Republic, And Puerta Rica, to name a few. He enjoyed the trips and learned about the culture of various foods. Also, James often gave youth free tickets for the Giants, Jets, Knicks, Mets, and Yankees games from the owners whom he served at Clarke’s. It felt good sitting in the Owner’s Box Seats. Consequently, James became the owner of several homes himself in which he was proud and always encouraged others to work and invest in real estate. James believed in helping his family, especially his Mother, the late Mrs. Martha Durant and his Grandmother, the late Mrs. Gussie Sprinkle. James worked diligently to ensure that his mother was eligible financially to own a government home during the late 1970s’ which became the Durant Estate. He often visited the home and repaired whatever needed to be repaired or secured the appropriate professional to repair it.
James took care of his mother and grandmother financially every month until they passed away. No matter what, James loved his family and wanted each of us to invest and have our own. James leaves to cherish his memories: one brother, Mr. Charles Durant of Brooklyn, NY; two sisters, Lula Mae Durant, Washington, D.C., Mary Durant-Bell of Holly Hill, S.C. and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends. His companion for many years, Ms. Eunice Hodges and family.
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