Thelma L. (Crofts) Durkee
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South Hamilton - Mrs. Thelma L. (Crofts) Durkee, 97, of South Hamilton, beloved wife and spiritual partner of the late Clifton R. Durkee, passed away peacefully Monday, November 11, 2019 in the home built by Clif, and her residence for the last 70 years.
Born in Peabody she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Florence (Lord) Crofts. She was raised in Danvers Highlands and was a graduate of Holton High School, Danvers, where she was a popular cheerleader "Booma". Thelma continued her education at Salem Hospital School of Nursing where she received her nursing degree in 1940. She married Clif, after a blind date, in 1945 and enjoyed 65 years of wedded bliss before his passing.
Mrs. Durkee began a long and distinguished career in nursing at Salem Hospital and Beverly Hospital and was often sot after for private duty as she was known for her exceptional care and kindness for her patients. She was dedicated to the next generation of nursing as an Instructor at Salem Hospital School of Nursing as well as teaching Anatomy and Physiology at Burdett College in Lynn. Nursing and the care of others was a role Mrs. Durkee embodied both professionally and in her personal life.
Following her retirement, Thelma continued to give back to her community and her love of nursing, volunteering at Salem Hospital and for the VNA flu clinics and also volunteered at the Hamilton Library.
A loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother, family always came first. She was passionate about providing a warm and loving home, had a love for baking cookies and pies, as well as tending her garden and her prized African Violets. She loved games, jigsaw puzzles, crosswords and reading. Along with her beloved husband Clif she enjoyed traveling throughout the US and abroad. She greatly treasured the time spent at their summer home in Limerick, ME with family and friends. She will be fondly remembered for her generous nature, her kind soul and easy manner. Thelma had a presence surrounding her that made everyone feel safe, protected and loved. She was a confidant, a role model, the definition of a friend and mother. She had an intuition which always provided honest and meaningful advice, guided by her love, to anyone who was trying to find their path through life. Her heart guided her; she listened and brought it to all of those she loved.
Deeply missing her is her daughter, Janet Durkee of Streamwood, Il, "adopted" daughter Carole Lane, Topsfield; her sons, Kenneth Durkee and his wife Brenda of Charleston, Maine, Wayne Durkee and his wife, Betsy of Danville, NH, her grandchildren, Kristine Keller and husband, John of Ft. Wayne, Ind., Scott Durkee and wife, Nicole of Evansville, Ind., Shaun Paul and husband, Joseph of Charleston, Maine and Jeff Durkee of Brownville, Maine, her great-grandchildren, Erica Stymiest, Aaron Stymiest, Wyatt Durkee, Maeve Richards and Madolyn Keller and her great-great-grandchildren, Kolbie Richards and Elodie Richards. Also daughter-in-law, Patricia, Taunton. Thelma was pre-deceased by her son, Thomas of Taunton.
Thelma's visiting hours will be held in the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St. (Rte. 62) Danvers on Saturday, November 16th from 4 to 7 p.m. Relatives and friends invited. Expressions of sympathy may be made in Thelma's memory to VNA Care Network & Hospice, 8 Angle St. Gloucester, MA 01930. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit
Published on November 14, 2019


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Showing 10 of 3 posts

Cathy (Stevens) Crow
Nov 15, 2019
I was a student of Mrs. Durkee at Burdett College. She was a wonderful teacher on a complex course, and made the class very interesting. I am pleased to read that she had a full and wonderful life.
Joan MacNeil Smith
Nov 14, 2019
Sending my condolences to the Durkee family may Thelma R.I.P we were neighbors from 1962 /1978 on Moynihan road they lived towards the dead end across from mr.poole and we lived in the garrison colonial house across from the little hill coming up off of linden onto Moynihan rd !
Nov 13, 2019