Mrs. Thelma L. (Crofts) Durkee

  • Born: January 16, 1922
  • Died: November 11, 2019
  • Location: South Hamilton, Massachusetts

Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home

Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home
167 Maple Street, Danvers, MA 01923
Tel. (978) 774-6600

Tribute & Message From The Family

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Thelma by adding your memories and photos.

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, MA, her sons, Kenneth Durkee and his wife Brenda of Charleston, ME, Wayne Durkee and his wife Betsy of Danville, NH, her grandchildren, Kristine Keller and husband John of Ft. Wayne, IN, Scott Durkee and wife Nicole of Evansville, IN, Shaun Paul and husband Joseph of Charleston, ME and Jeff Durkee of Brownville, ME, 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, MA. Thelma was pre-deceased by her son Thomas of Taunton, MA.

ARRANGEMENTS: 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


Condolence & Memory Journal

Sincere sympathy to family and friends of Mrs. Durkee.I was a student of hers at Burdett College...She was a brilliant teacher who challenged us young ladies to LEARN...She also gave us helpful hints about health and told us we would all be ok in life, to just be strong and resilient...I remember her with a smile and gratitude.

Posted by Mary Russell - Student   November 27, 2019

I always will remember Thelma, as my second mom, because I was always treated like family. Growing up with Ken, Tom, Janet, and Wayne, is a big part of what made me who I am today. Thank you Thelma, and Cliff, for you help in steering me in the right direction. Love always

Posted by Waye Burner - San Pancho, Mexico - Family Friend   November 21, 2019

Dearest Thelma, or better known to my twin sons as "Auntie Themla," was always so warm and kind, loving, supportive and present in their lives, although just next door - an everlasting friend, neighbor and oft-time nanny, she never hesitated to look after the boys in a pinch, make a meal or bake some sought after goodies, no matter how busy she might be with other, more important matters. She will be sorely missed and we pray that she is now at peace with the Lord.

Steve Brown and family

Posted by Steve Brown - Cumberland Foreside, ME - Neighbor   November 15, 2019

We all feel fortunate to have known and loved such a wonderful person. We are all grateful for all the holidays, birthdays and weekends spent in Maine together. She will be sorely missed and her love and lessons will live on through us all.

Posted by Lane Family - North Berwick, ME   November 15, 2019


My condolences go out to the Durkee family may your mom R.I.P we were neighbors on Moynihan RD from 1962/78 ! joan MacNeil Smith

Posted by joan MacNeil Smith - CHARLESTON, SC - Neighbor   November 14, 2019

A great lady full of life

Posted by Chryl Noble - Sarasota, FL - Family   November 13, 2019

So very sorry for your loss. Aunt Thelma was one on a million- a lovely person.

Posted by Judy Kauffman - Salem, MA - Family   November 13, 2019

Family Album