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.