James "Jim" Durkee


July 19, 1943 - July 16, 2021


James “Jim” Durkee, 77, of Mitchell, died Friday, July 16, 2021 at Firesteel Health Care Center in Mitchell. A visitation will be from 5-6:00 PM Wednesday, July 21, at Bittner Funeral Chapel with a 6:00 PM prayer service. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

James “Jim” Robert Durkee was born July 19, 1943, and raised in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  He graduated from Central High School (Aberdeen) in 1961 and was a member of the National Honor Society.  He was also employed as a broadcaster at radio station KSDN while in high school.

Jim graduated with “honor” from Northern State College with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education, in 1965.  He taught one year at Sisseton High School (teaching English).  In 1967 he graduated from Northern State College with “high honor”, receiving his Masters of Science degree in Education.  During his college years, he coached American Legion baseball and continued his employment with the radio station KSDN.

For most of his life, he taught at the high school and college levels:  Pipestone High School in Minnesota (1967-68); Williams High School in Minnesota (1968-69); Watertown High School in South Dakota (1969-70); Aberdeen Central High School in South Dakota (1970-75); National College in Rapid City, SD (1975-83); and returned to his hometown in 1983 for family reasons. In 1989 he left Aberdeen to teach at Minnesota School of Business (1989-90). While there he worked as a proofreader at the international law firm of Dorsey and Whitney (350 members) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Beginning in 1990 he was a teacher at several Native American schools in South Dakota, with most of those years at Marty Indian School on the Yankton Sioux Reservation (1990-99). Jim also taught at Hamlin High School in Hayti from 1999 to 2001, and McLaughlin High School from 2001 to 2004.  In later years he served as a substitute teacher in Rapid City, Chamberlain, and Mitchell.

Jim was a prostate cancer survivor.

He wrote a book, Hitler in the Bull’s-eye:  A Tale of Double Betrayal, it is listed on Amazon Kindle.

Jim’s favorite historical assessment came from Charles DE Gaulle: “Old age is a shipwreck.”

He was preceded in death by his parents, George at age 66 and Florence at age 94, and his brother Raymond at age 72.  He will be missed by his friends and associates in Mitchell and Chamberlain.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
6:00 PM Prayer Service

Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 W Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


None Scheduled

Posted by Bill Kraft on July 20, 2021
Jim and I formed a life-long friendship over 50 years ago during our time at Pipestone High School. We cultivated that friendship over decades with occasional visits, phone calls, and letters. Jim was one of the brightest and most articulate people I ever knew and a superior teacher. He will forever be in my thoughts and prayers. Until we meet again, my friend.
Posted by Jolynn Hanson on July 19, 2021
Jim always had a story for us when he would come to the center. Enjoyed visiting with him.
Posted by Kim Burg on July 17, 2021
I always enjoyed visiting with Jim when I worked at James Valley Community Center. He had a great sense of humor! He will be missed.
Posted by Ariel Anderson on July 16, 2021
Thank you for all of your shared wisdom. So very blessed to have known you. Rest in peace, Jim. The Casey's family will truly miss you.
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