In Memory of

Kris

Edwin

Durmer

Obituary for Kris Edwin Durmer

In Pursuit of Service and Guided by Family, a Journey from New Hampshire to Washington, DC.

Kris Edwin Durmer, 73, passed away peacefully on December 9, 2023, at his home in Washington, DC after a courageous battle with cancer.

Kris is survived by the love of his life and wife of 52 ½ years, Lynda Lee Durmer; his children, Karis Durmer of Greenwich, CT (Greg Thomaier), Ashley Durmer of Washington, DC (TJ Leonard), and Taylor Durmer of St. Louis, MO; his grandchildren, Iris and Holden Leonard and Agnes and Graham Thomaier; his siblings, Erik Durmer of Fitzwilliam, NH and Karyl Durmer of Bedford, NH; and nieces and nephews.

Kris was born on December 16, 1949, to the late Virginia Mae and Roy Madsen Durmer in Framingham, Massachusetts. The family moved to Goffstown, New Hampshire shortly after, and it was there the foundations of his character, commitment to family, and strong sense of civic responsibility became indelibly ingrained, leading to his lifelong pursuit to serve the public.

Kris graduated from Goffstown High School (’67) and from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) (’71). While at UNH, he participated in the University Senate, was a member of the varsity soccer team, and spent his summers interning at Sanders Associates as a member of the Saturn V rocket program team that helped launch Apollo 11. It was there he met Lynda; they married on June 19, 1971, and spent the next half century together, raising their three children and becoming grandparents to four.

Kris’ work ethic and commitment to serving others were central in all he did. His first job in public service was as a Special Assistant to the late Senator Thomas J. McIntyre (D-NH), who encouraged him to pursue a law degree. Continuing his work with the Senator, he earned his Juris Doctor from the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law (’78), being named the Supreme Court Editor for the “1978 Annual Survey of New Hampshire Law.” Kris also served his country as an Artillery Surveyor, Staff Sergeant in the New Hampshire Army National Guard from 1971-1977.

His legal career took root in Nashua, NH, where he became an expert litigator in state and federal courts, and eventually, co-founded the firm of Smith-Weiss, Shepard & Durmer, PC. His strong sense of civic duty and obligation to help make the political system work for all established him as a leader in the NH Democratic party. For over three-decades, he provided counsel to elected officials, as well as local and national candidates, and he mentored the next generation of organizers and activists. He valued participation at all levels; he held signs, knocked on doors, and hosted numerous presidential candidates in his home.

In 1994, his exemplary legal skills and civic engagement led to an appointment by President William J. Clinton to the Board of Directors of Sallie Mae, where he served as both Vice Chair and Acting Chair. His dedication to community was also evident through his 18-year tenure as a Commissioner of the Nashua Housing Authority and his service on the Board of Trustees of Sacred Heart University, the Board of the Nashua Home Health and Hospice Care Agency, and the Board of the UNH Alumni Association.

The culmination of his career came with his appointment by President Barack Obama to serve as General Counsel of the General Services Administration (GSA) in 2009. He served in this role through 2017, providing legal guidance on a national scale and earning a reputation for integrity and expertise in his management.

Despite his professional achievements, he was foremost a family man. Kris found joy in simple pleasures, moments spent talking with family at his Nashua gazebo or on his terrace in Washington, DC. He and Lynda were known for their hospitality, hosting numerous dinners and celebrations, and they cherished their travels to over 20 countries during retirement.

Kris’ story is one of dedication and service. His impact on the legal field, contributions to his community, and love for his wife and family will be remembered and celebrated by all who knew him.

SERVICES: Family and friends are invited to a memorial service for Kris at The First Church of Nashua, 1 Concord Street, Nashua, NH 03064 on Thursday, December 21st at 10:00 am. Burial to follow at Edgewood Cemetery, 107 Amherst Street, Nashua, NH 03064.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in his name to either the American Cancer Society to further support the work to end cancer or to the Humane Society of Greater Nashua, the local chapter of an organization whose mission he supported throughout his life.