Joseph Terrance "Terry" Durkin, 86, of Cazenovia, died peacefully with family present on Friday, November 1, 2013 at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison.
He was born July 20, 1927 in Madison, Wisconsin. He married Ramona Brandt on November 27, 1952.
Joseph grew up in Madison. In 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and served throughout the country, including as an air traffic controller at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Joseph graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree and then a master's degree in zoology in 1953. At UW-Madison, Joseph played right tackle for the UW-Madison football team, and played in the 1953 Rose Bowl against the University of Southern California. He retained his love of football throughout his life, and enjoyed following the Badgers and Packers, win or lose.
In his career, Joseph worked as a fisheries biologist for the federal government for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association in Wisconsin, Michigan, Idaho, Washington and Oregon in research. His research made a lasting impact in protecting marine life, from the Great Lakes to the mouth of the Columbia River, and is used to this day.
During his retirement in Richland County on the Brandt/Klockow family farm with his wife Ramona, Joseph kept his love for animals and wildlife. He raised beef cattle and kept them for long periods, giving them names of his daughters' friends like Laura and Polly, or flower names such as Peony and Nasturtium. Toward the end of his life, Ginger, Sunny, Max and Fred the yellow Labrador retrievers were his constant friends and companions. He was also an avid collector of plastic models, stamps and coins.
Joseph was a great husband, dad and provider, and didn't take things too seriously. When asked what stood out about Dad when they first met at the University of Wisconsin, Ramona said it was that he was being mischievous in chemistry class. He bypassed the latest gadgets or clothes and brand new cars to pay for college tuition for seven kids, but never bypassed the ice cream stand when there was a car load full of children. Christmases included funny, personalized notes to each child from Santa in addition to generous gifts. And every year, he took that same carload of kids, as many as nine people traveling 2,000 miles together in a 1965 Dodge station wagon, between Oregon, Washington or Idaho and seeing family in Wisconsin. And Joseph never missed a fireworks stand, scenic turnout or or souvenir shop along the way.
He also gave his family an appreciation for Tullamore Dew and a saying we all use on each other now and always will: Dad, we love you, no matter what they say about you!
Survivors include his wife, Ramona Durkin (Brandt); seven children, Marian (Donald) Durkin-Cook of Burlington, Wis., Michael (Brenda) Durkin of Holmen, Wis., Edward (Elgena) Durkin of Beavercreek, Ohio, William (Regina) Durkin of Appleton, Wis., Padraic (William Pyke) Durkin of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Eileen (John) Reilly of Janesville, Wis., and Peggy Durkin of Cazenovia, Wis.,; thirteen grandchildren, Eric Scholl, Julia Scholl, Marta Scholl, Terrance Durkin, Kathleen Durkin, Clarence Durkin, Leandra Durkin, Baillye Durkin, Kelsie Durkin, Collin Durkin, Andrew Reilly, Claire Reilly and Bridget Reilly; and a brother, Edward (Winifred) Durkin of Winneconne, Wis., and Lakeland, Florida; and sixteen nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father Edward Durkin, mother Ursula Durkin, brother Donald Durkin and sister Mary Patricia Klein.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 11:00 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Keyesville. Friends may call at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Keyesville on Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 9:00 AM until the time of the mass at 11:00 AM. Military rites will be provided by the Local Military Memorial Honors Unit.
The Pratt Funeral and Cremation Service is assisting the family with their arrangements.
Online condolences can be made at prattfuneralservice.com.