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John W. Durkes

July 14, 2013

John “Jack” W. Durkes was born February 5, 1936 to Earnest and Hertha (Zwonitzer) Durkes in Frankfort, Kansas.

He was the sixth of seven children and is preceded in death by his parents and siblings: Doris Eva “Tootie” McHenry, Claude, Charles, Donald, Andrew, and Jerry.  Jack also had an infant brother whom passed at birth.

Jack graduated Axtell High School in 1954 and was the first student to letter in all four sports all four years.  The summer after graduation he joined the United States Army and was assigned to the 5th Armored Division, 96th AAA Field Arterially, Alaska.  After separating from active duty in May 1956 he worked construction and at the Marshall County ASC.  In 1958 he wed the love of his life, Sharon Kooser and they moved to Topeka where Jack began making passenger tires at Goodyear.  After five years at Goodyear he accepted a fulltime position with the Kansas Army National Guard.  1st Sgt Durkes was assigned to the Headquarters STARK in Topeka and retired May 1991.

Moving to Eskridge with Sharon and four children the summer of 1973 was a dream come true for the Farm Boy from Axtell.  John enjoyed country life and took up ranching fulltime after his long and faithful service to our Country. He always understood the importance of youth sports and as a coach wanted to share the depth of the game and opportunities to create something amazing in the moment through a team achievement.  John coached youth baseball, basketball, and football in Topeka and Eskridge.  At 61 he hung up his softball glove.  He also valued being close to family and would always be spotted in the crowd at children’s’, grandchildrens’, and great grandchildrens’ sporting events, dance recitals and rodeos.

The morning of July 14, 2013 John gave his spirit back to Jesus at the age of 77.  Survivors include his wife, Sharon L. Durkes of the Home; five children: Bill (Lora) of Greenwood, MO; Dan (Kim) of Eskridge, KS; Ann of Sunnyvale, CA; John (Marcos) of San Diego, CA; and Marjie of Eskridge, KS.   Jack also has nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 A.M. Wednesday, July17, 2013 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Alma.  Interment will be in Mission View Cemetery northwest of Eskridge.  Mr. Durkes will lie in state after 6:00 P.M. Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at Piper Funeral Chapel, 107 E 2nd Ave, Eskridge.  There will be a rosary recited at 7:00 P.M. at the chapel.  In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are welcome and should be mailed to the Eskridge Ball Association and sent % Tammy Marcott, Flint Hills Bank, Eskridge, Kansas 66423 or to the Medical Surgical Critical Care Unit, 1500 SW10th Ave, Topeka, KS. 66604-1353.  Piper Funeral Chapel of Eskridge is in charge of arrangements.


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13 thoughts on “John W. Durkes

  1. To Dan and the whole Durkes Family,
    I only met your Dad once but I know you and have met your sisters. I believe that children are a testament to the integrity and character of the parents.
    Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.

  2. What a priviledge it was to have known John thru the years. We appreciated working with him and your family. May the Holy Spirit comfort you in your great loss. (Isaiah 61:3)

  3. Sharon and family, Erika and I send our deepest sympathy in Jack’s passing. He will certainly be missed by our class of 54. Jack was a friend of everyone in school and we that played sports with him always wanted to be on his team. I played with him, and sometimes against him, from 5th through 12th grade. We were great partners and competitors. Though our paths since HS have not crossed many times, I miss him already. I am pleased that his spirit is with Jesus so we will someday meet again.

  4. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. John was a wonderful man and we will miss seeing him at games. I’ll never forget when I started working with him at CSMS he came and wanted to ask me a “personal” question because he heard we lived at Eskridge. He was the first person we knew here. He will be greatly missed.

  5. To the Durkes Family,
    We are sorry for your loss, our thoughts and prayers are with your family during these difficult moments.
    May your family find comfort and strengths through the love of God.
    Samaniego Family

  6. Kim and Dan:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your father (in-law). May the Lord grant you comfort and strength and may he rest in peace. Condolences to your entire family.

  7. Sharon & Family,
    Our thoughts and sympathy are with you at this difficult time.
    Love & Prayers

  8. Sharon and the entire Durkes family: I am so very for sorry for your loss and you all are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. I do want to say also what an honor and privilege it was to meet, then know John. He was a man of honor, conviction and honesty. I have and will always have so much respect for him. And his sense of quiet strength will always be a reminder to me to stay strong in difficult times. What a blessing it was to have him as a husband, father, grandfather and friend. No words can express how much he will be missed, but the love and memories he leaves behind will remain in our hearts always. Paul

  9. Sharon & family,
    We extend our sympathy on the death of Jack. I have fond memories of our high school years and our football games.
    Glenn and Elsie Stueve

  10. Sharon and family–So very sorry for the loss of your loved one. I’ll never forget our card game and what a sport John was (imagine bidding 4 right off the bat and then making it!). You will all be in our thoughts and prayers–Jan

  11. Sharon & family, we are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this very difficult time.
    Rod & Julie Homan

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