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.