Leora (Lee) Church Durkee was born October 29, 1924 in Dwight, Geary County, Kansas. Her father, Frederick Church, died when she young. She grew up in Kansas City, Missouri with her brother, Henry, and sisters, Eva, Polly and Kathyrn where her mother, Myrtle Whited Church, ran a boarding house. Perhaps being raised by a single mom made family a focus of her life where children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were central to her. She graduated from Northeast High School in 1941.
She served in the US Naval Reserve as a WAVE from 1944 to 1946 and served at the base in Norfolk, Virginia as Aviation Mechanics Mate repairing naval aircraft. At the end of her service, she married James (Jim) Robert Durkee on April 5, 1946. After the war, they attended University of Wyoming. After Jim graduated, the family moved to Basin Wyoming (1951 to 53) and then to Douglas Wyoming (1953-1963). Leora graduated with a Bachelor degree and earned an MA in Psychology
When Jim was appointed instructor at the University of Wyoming in 1963, the family moved to Laramie. After moving to Laramie, Lee taught at Lincoln and Beitel elementary schools, while working on her masters degree. After earning her masters, Lee worked as a psychometrist conducting educational testing for Albany County schools until her retirement in 1988,
Lee enjoyed sewing, knitting, needle work and other arts and crafts. The United Methodist Church was a center of her life. She sang with the Melodies and played the bells in the Methodist bell choir. After retirement, she provided tax help for the AARP at the Epson Center for others. She was also an avid bridge player. She and Jim spent their summers camping in the Snowy Range. While Jim fished, Lee played cards and hiked nearby trails. Lee enjoyed travel to see family and, also, group tours where she made many new friends. She was a longtime member of the Alpha Delta Kappa Gamma, DAR and the United Methodist Women serving in many offices in each.
Leora died on Monday, August 19, 2019 at Ivinson Memorial Hospital.
Lee is survived by sons James Durkee Jr. and wife Shirley of Colorado Springs, Colo., Stephen Durkee and wife Mary of Princeton Junction, N.J., John Durkee and wife Lynn of New Britain, Ct, Robert Durkee and wife Gina of Lynchberg, Va., and David Durkee and wife Valerie of Las Vegas, Nev.; sister-in-law Ruth Durkee of Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania; ten grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services will be at the United Methodist Church in Laramie at 10:30 Friday August 23, Followed by a graveside service and a reception at the Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Jim Durkee Scholarship fund c/o the UW Foundation or to the Methodist Women or a charity of your choice.
Go to www.montgomerystryker.com to send condolences or to sign the online guestbook.