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Wilfred Durkee

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Wilfred Durkee Obituary
July 14, 1921 - April 3, 2006. Wilfred "Bill" Durkee beloved husband, father, and grandfather, joined his father in heaven April 3, 2006. Bill was born July 14, 1921, in Oakland, Calif., to Ruth and Wilfred Durkee. He was raised in Burlingame, and Berkeley, Calif. He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1939, and went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley until 1942. During his high school years he was an outstanding athlete and excelled in track, football and basketball. His senior year Bill was selected 1st string All Alameda County Athletic League. His college athletic career began in December of 1939, when he was the starting center on Cal's freshman basketball team. During his sophomore and junior years he was the second string center on the varsity team and in 1942, he scored 17 points in the second half of Cal's win over UCLA. In college Bill was a proud member of the Beta Theta Phi-Omega Chapter. In July of 1942, Bill decided to leave college and join the U.S. Army. He was enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army Coast Guard Artillery (Anti-Aircraft Division), commissioned 2nd lieutenant in January of 1943, and as a 1st lieutenant in August of 1943. He was stationed in Hawaii, and was named the athletic & recreation officer for the Hawaiian Anti-Aircraft Command. In 1946, Bill returned to Cal to complete his college education and continue his athletic career. He competed on the track team, football team and was the starting guard for the Cal basketball team. During Bill's final game at Cal, the Bears set an all time scoring record for the most points scored in a game with a total of 88 points scored against Stanford. This record lasted for 10 years. In October of 1947, Bill was the starting guard in the first game ever played by the Minneapolis Lakers. He played two years with the Lakers team that also featured the all time great center George Mikan. He did not return for a third season due to the NBA imposed salary cap. Bill moved to Las Vegas in 1954, and after several jobs was hired on at the Nevada Test Site in the personnel office as the head of recreation among other duties for 30 years. While there he met his beautiful wife, Lois and was married Oct. 13, 1961. On Oct. 24, 2002, they were sealed in the Las Vegas LDS Temple. From 1955-1993 he played Las Vegas City Fast-Pitch and Slow-Pitch and either played on or managed seven Nevada State Fast-Pitch Championship teams and two Slow-Pitch State Championship teams. He also represented Nevada as player or manager in nine International Softball Congress Fast Pitch World Tournaments and in 1978, was the manager of the World Championship team. In later years he went on to play with the Las Vegas Senior Teams in 16 National Championship Tournaments. On May 20, 1995, Bill was inducted into the Las Vegas Softball Hall of Fame. Bill was an avid UNLV football and basketball fan and thoroughly enjoyed watching his grandchildren participate in sports. He is survived by his wife, Lois Wentz Durkee; daughters, Pam Ruggeroli and Barbara Blais; sons, John Durkee and Dan Durkee; daughters-in-law, Brenda Durkee and Cheri Durkee; son-in-law, Dr. Chuck Ruggeroli; 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, April 8, at Bunkers Mortuary, 925 Las Vegas Blvd. North. Burial will be at 9:20 a.m. Monday, April 10 at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City. Donations can be made in Bill's memory to the or the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.

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