Family: Man found dead in the Great Miami River in Hamilton ‘could fix anything’

Nathan Durbin, the Fairfield man whose body was found Monday in the Great Miami River in Hamilton, was a mechanic who could fix anything, including cars, computers and lawnmowers, his sister said.

And he happily made his talents available to friends and others who needed his repairing talents.

“He could fix anything in the world,” said Nicole Durbin, his sister. “If you called him, he could fix it. Everybody’s car, if you didn’t have the money to fix your car, he’d be right there to help you.”


He loved his 11-year-old daughter, Kelsi, and attended her dance recital Saturday, she said.

He was 35 and lived in Fairfield with his mother, Malinda Bower, and grandmother, Stella Potter.

His body was spotted on the west side of the Great Miami River, just upriver of the Black Street Bridge.

Butler County Sheriff’s detective Chris Morris said an autopsy found water in his stomach, indicating he was alive when he made contact with the water. Hamilton firefighters attempted to revive him, but he was “deceased upon arrival,” the sheriff’s office announced.

Although a spokesman told this media outlet that Durbin’s family heard news reports and contacted law enforcement officials, fearing he was found in the water, Sheriff’s Sgt. Ed Tanner said deputies went to the family and told them.

“He was hilarious,” Nicole Durbin said of her brother. “He was a jokester. He was fun to be around. He’d do anything for you.”

Durbin attended Edgewood High School but didn’t graduate. Instead, he earned his General Education Diploma “just last year,” she said. “With his GED, this kid, he had the brains. He was so smart. He didn’t take a class for that GED. He went straight and took the test, and he passed.”

He also is survived by stepbrother Michael Bower.

The visitation will be 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Charles C. Young Funeral Home, 4032 Hamilton Cleves Road, Ross Twp., 45014. The funeral service will follow at noon at the funeral home.

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Maj. Mike Craft of the sheriff’s regional water rescue team said deputies were able to quickly identify Durbin using a “mobile-identification scanner for prints,” and his matched fingerprints that were on file.

Since May 24, there also have been three near-drownings — an 11-year-old girl was rescued by citizens who were dedicating a memorial tree near the historic log cabin next to the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers monument; a 19-year-old man was rescued after breaking his leg while fishing; and a 15-year-old boy was rescued by Hamilton firefighters while he was clinging to a rope that was hanging from a tree.

ExploreRELATED: Have respect for dangers of Great Miami River, officials warn

Safety officials say people should never underestimate the river, the strength of its currents or the objects beneath the water, such as tree limbs, stumps or rocks on which legs, arms or clothing can get snagged.

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