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William R. Durkee, M.D.

William R. Durkee, M.D. William R. Durkee, M.D., 94, of Manhattan, passed away on September 24, 2017, in Kansas City.

He was born on April 12, 1923, in Kansas City, Mo., the son of Dwight and Bessie D. (Williams) Durkee.

He was married to Billie Maxine Schreiner from 1946 until her death in 1974. He was married to Jeanne Elizabeth Wells Schultz from 1975 until her death in 1988.

Raised in Kansas City, Missouri, he was an Eagle Scout and a graduate of Southwestern High School. He attended Kansas City Junior College and the University of Chicago as an undergraduate. He entered the University of Kansas Medical School in 1942 under a U.S. Army training program and served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1942 to 1945. After completing medical school with honors in 1945 at the age of 22, he served two years as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, stationed in Japan. After his service, he completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and he and his wife, Maxine, moved to Manhattan in 1951.

Dr. Durkee practiced internal medicine for 40 years in Manhattan, first at the Ball Memorial Clinic (1951-1976) and then at Manhattan Medical Center (1976-1991). From 1963 to his retirement in 1991, he also was the state medical director for the Kansas Farm Bureau. He served twice as the president of staff at Riley County Memorial Hospital, as well as on the hospital’s board of directors.

During his career, he held leadership positions in numerous local health-related organizations, including the Riley County Medical Society, Manhattan Home Health Council, Kansas Blue Shield and local chapters of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Council on Alcoholism. He was the first medical director at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community, and he was a fellow in the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology.

Proud of his roots in Manhattan, Dr. Durkee was active in many community organizations, and he was an avid supporter of local arts organizations. He served on the board of directors and as president of the Friends of McCain Auditorium, on the Kansas State University Dance Development Board, and on the board for the Manhattan Arts Council. He also co-funded a dance studio at KSU. In 1998, he was awarded the Ronnie Mahler Award by the KSU Dance Development Board for his support. He was a Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Ambassador for 10 years, a Rotary Club member for over 40 years, a member of the First United Methodist Church-Manhattan, and he served on the board of the Sunset Zoological Park and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

He is survived by his son, Bruce Durkee and his wife, Kathy, of Overland Park, KS; his daughter, Ellen Durkee and her partner, Denise Cunningham of Takoma Park, MD.; step-daughter Sally Swenk and her husband Tim Swenk; step-son George Schultz and his wife Maggie Schultz; step-son Jeff Schultz; eleven grandchildren, one great-grandchild; and his dear friend Jacquie Brewer.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Peggy Durkee.

Funeral services will be held 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Chapel with Reverend Troy Bowers officiating. Interment will follow in the Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan.

To leave an on-line condolence for the family, please click on "Send Condolences" on this webpage.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Kansas State University Foundation for the William R. Durkee Memorial Fund to support the McCain Performance Series at McCain Auditorium. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.

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