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Durrance, John, Dr.



  • Existence: July 20, 1912 - November 7, 2003


Dr. John Durrance was a pulmonary physician and rock climber as well as an expert in hybridizing flowers. He grew and hybridized flowers, including gladioli, tulips and more than 30 types of irises. He was elected chariman of the International Iris Society and chaired three American Iris Society conventions in Denver. His rock climbing ascents included the North Face of the Grand Teton, devils Towers and an attempt on K2 in 1939.

During the K2 attempt, Chappel Cranmer, a teammate from Denver, nearly died from pulmonary edema, but Durrance was able to save his life. Cranmer’s family thanked Durrance by securing an internship for him with Dr. James J. Waring, an international expert on tuberculosis who founded the Webb-Waring Institute at the University of Colorado Medical School. Durrance moved to Denver for the internship, then took a job as a pulmonary physician at the local veterans hospital. He became chief of medicine.

His interest in plants and connection with Dr. James J. Waring brought him to Denver Botanic Gardens. He served as Acting Director of Denver Botanic Gardens January - July 1959.

The Denver Post Irises, mountains were doctor's passions