Bobby John Duryea, 82, died Sunday, April 23, 2017 surrounded by his loving family at Box Butte General Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born in Hyannis, NE on July 28, 1934 where his parents, Abe A. and Conda E. Duryea, paid Dr. Howell six chickens for his birth.
After moving to Alliance, he spent his early days pulling his wagon around town shining shoes to earn a dime or two. After graduating from Alliance High School in 1952, he attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Chadron State College attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, a Master’s Degree in Administration, as well as a Specialist Degree. While at Chadron State College on a double date, he met his lifelong love, Joanie Thoendel. They later married in 1956 and added three daughters DeeAnn, Vic, and Kathy to their union. In 1957, he joined the U.S. Army, where he taught guided missiles, his rank was SP4.
After serving in the Army, Bobby had the opportunity to pursue his passion for education which eventually lead him to being the Business Manager for many years with the Alliance Public Schools. One of his major accomplishments while at Alliance Public Schools was the birth of the Alliance Public Schools Foundation. He retired from education in 1988.
An avid golfer, he was a longtime member of Skyview Golf Course and Panhandle Men’s Club. He served as an active member and past president of the Travelers Protection Association. When Bobby wasn’t at the golf course or on the lake, he used his gifts on wood working projects, home improvement tasks, and he was known for providing insight and expertise into any construction projects the family had going on. The last five years Bobby spent nearly every day at Highland Park visiting his wife Joanie. One of his favorite things to do while seeing Joanie at Highland Park was to curl up beside her on the twin sized bed and take a nap with her. Their commitment to one another made for an admirable love story. Through all of Bobby’s trials and tribulations in life, he took them on with a smile. He was a true lover of life and the ultimate gentleman.
He leaves his wife of 60 years, Joanie Marie (Thoendel) Duryea, his three daughters and their husbands, DeeAnn and Roger Nason, Vic and Rick Bolek, Kathy and Kip Reeves, his five grandkids, Adam Bolek (Kristy), Jennifer Lanik (Nate), Joni Sautter (Mike), Izzy Thompson (Gene), and Ryan Dorshorst (Clare) and the joys of his life, his nine great-grandkids, Rasine, Taylee, Espen, Nason, Brinlee, Kyden, Jack, Jillian, and Maggie. He is also survived by his sister, Bonnie (Dale) Jones of Westfield, MA and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Leta Rae (Bob) Whiteman.
A celebration of life will be held in the form of a wake service on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, April 28 at 10:00 a.m. with Father Tim Stoner officiating. Burial will be in the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery with military honors.
Memorials may be sent to the Alliance Public Schools Foundation.