OBITUARY

David Butler Durkee

October 11, 1953March 30, 2020
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David Butler Durkee departed this life at home, surrounded by his family, on March 30, 2020. He was born in Cortland, NY on Oct. 11, 1953, to the late William and Marguerite (Butler) Durkee.

He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 46 years, Sharon (Jordan) Durkee; his daughter Kristen Burnett (Jim); sons Joshua Durkee (Becky) and Colin Durkee (Lauren); grandchildren Tyler and Hanna Burnett, and Hunter, Sierra and Bella Durkee; siblings Claudia Beck, William Durkee, Heidi Tromley, Nancy Herbert and Martha Garvey; and several nieces, nephews, and many wonderful friends and colleagues.

David found a calling in the labor movement, where he built a career passionately defending worker’s rights. He started his career in 1973 at the Lewis Brothers Bakery in Evansville, IN. In 1983 he became Local 280’s business agent and financial secretary. In 1992, David was elected as International Executive Vice President by the BCTGM’s General Executive Board. In 1998, he was elected as International Secretary-Treasurer and Director of Organizing, and continued in this position until 2013, when he then became President of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers International Union.

In 2012, David was elected to serve as the Chairman of the Bakery and Confectionary Union and Industry International Health Benefits and Pension Funds. He also served as Vice President of the AFL-CIO and was a member of the Executive Council. He also served as chairperson of the AFL-CIO Capital Strategies Committee and as a Trustee of the National Labor College.

David served as an Executive Board Member of the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department, the First Vice President of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department and as Chairman of the AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Conference.

David spent his life fighting for workers’ rights and was an advocate for every union member. The lives he touched through is work are countless. David’s 47-year career as a member and leader of the BCTGM was marked by an unwavering, untiring and relentless commitment to protecting and advancing the rights and standard of living of union members and their families.

While serving the union full time, David earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Indiana in 1981, and his Master’s degree in agency counseling from Indiana State University in 1986. He was also a graduate of the Harvard University Trade Union Program. David loved the outdoors and spent his leisure time camping, working in the yard, long walks, fishing, boating, and swimming. He was an automotive enthusiast of American-made vehicles, and enjoyed driving his Corvette and his truck, “The Bone”, which he rebuilt and raced in the early 1980s. David ran track in high school and later played and coached travel ice hockey in Evansville, where he was an integral member in building the Evansville Youth Hockey League. He was an avid IU Basketball fan and enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren play all sports. He loved all music and was always listening to a tune somewhere. David was a family man, and enjoyed any chance he had to spend time with his family, especially his grandchildren, where he was the happiest Papa around. One of his favorite activities was hosting his annual holiday Durkee Bowling Tournament, which brought in about 30 family members.

A celebration of life visitation will be held 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 8th, 2021 at Alexander North Chapel, 4200 Stringtown Road, followed by services at 2:30 p.m. officiated by Pastor Brian Buschkill. Livestreaming of the service will be available starting at 2:25 p.m. at www.facebook.com/funeralstreamusa Family is requesting that all visitors please wear a mask and follow social distance guidelines.

In Lieu of flowers, donations are kindly appreciated to BCTGM Int’l Union, 10401 Connecticut Ave, Kensington, MD 20895-3961; attention: David B. Durkee Scholarship Fund or St. Peters UCC, 7014 Darmstadt Road, Evansville, IN 47710.

Condolences may be made online at www.AlexanderNorthChapel.com.

  • FAMILY

  • Sharon (Jordan) Durkee, Wife of 46 years
  • Kristen Burnett (Jim), Daughter
  • Joshua Durkee (Becky), Son
  • Colin Durkee (Lauren), Son
  • Tyler & Hanna Burnett, Grandchildren
  • Hunter, Sierra & Bella Durkee, Grandchildren
  • Claudia Beck, Sister
  • William Durkee, Brother
  • Heidi Tromley, Sister
  • Nancy Herbert, Sister
  • Martha Garvey, Sister
  • Several Nieces and Nephews
    Many wonderful friends and colleagues
  • DONATIONS

  • BCTGM Int'l Union ~ Attention: David B Durkee Scholarship Fund
  • St. Peters UCC

Services

  • A Celebration of Life Visitation

    Saturday, May 8, 2021

  • A Celebration of Life Memorial Service

    Saturday, May 8, 2021

Memories

David Butler Durkee

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Don Schenk

May 8, 2021

Memories of Dave are hard to put into words. Our friendship began in the early '70s and included travels far and wide. We shared more than a couple of very fun times in the outdoors camping and exploring areas near and far, and despite our many adventures he still excelled in college and created a legacy that will endure for years from his union endeavors to his family. Even though we were often many miles apart it was always good to hear the doorbell ring and see Dave on the other side, day or night.

Stanley Lannert

April 5, 2020

I am saddened to hear David has passed away. I have not seen him for many many years but he was an awesome friend. We worked together at the bakery and ran around the city and county for several years. Still remember when he and I tried to start a clothing store in North Park. I think it would have worked at least for a while.Barn Storming!!!
Unfortunately Dave and I grew apart as the years went by. I got a new job and he was involved with the union and we hardly ever saw each other.
Dave was very passionate about everything he did and truly adored Sharon. I could go on and on about how influential he was in my younger life he was a true friend. I kinda hoped we would have bumped in to each other over the years and talked about old times.
He was a great guy and I'm thrilled to have known him!
Stan

Ralph David

April 5, 2020

Our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Durkee family. Prayers, thoughts and wishes are with you.

Ralph, Melanie, Ryan & Aaron David.

Jim Anderschat

April 3, 2020

On behalf of Local #334 in Portland, Maine, we would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Sharon and all of David's children. He was a great leader, but more, a great friend. We will miss him dearly. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Don Nichols

April 3, 2020

Dear Sharon,
So sad to hear about Dave's passing. It was always great to bump into both of you when he was in town. We all shared a lot of time back in the early days that Ive never forgotten. Dave had so much personality and was a true hero to the labor movement.
Prayers to you and your family.
Don Nichols

claudia kane

April 2, 2020

Dear Sharon & Family, Dan & I are SO VERY saddened to learn of David's passing. He was a Wonderful friend and a Great Union Brother. Among the many wonderful memories we have with you and David, is the whale watching trip in Hawaii. David was so much fun to be around!!! He lives in in our hearts. Much Love, Dan and Claudia Kane

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Biography

David Butler Durkee departed this life at home, surrounded by his family, on March 30, 2020.
He was born in Cortland, NY on Oct. 11, 1953, to the late William and Marguerite (Butler) Durkee.

He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 46 years, Sharon (Jordan) Durkee; his daughter Kristen Burnett (Jim); sons Joshua Durkee (Becky) and Colin Durkee (Lauren); grandchildren Tyler and Hanna Burnett, and Hunter, Sierra and Bella Durkee; siblings Claudia Beck, William Durkee, Heidi Tromley, Nancy Herbert and Martha Garvey; and several nieces, nephews, and many wonderful friends and colleagues.

David found a calling in the labor movement, where he built a career passionately defending worker’s rights. He started his career in 1973 at the Lewis Brothers Bakery in Evansville, IN. In 1983 he became Local 280’s business agent and financial secretary. In 1992, David was elected as International Executive Vice President by the BCTGM’s General Executive Board. In 1998, he was elected as International Secretary-Treasurer and Director of Organizing, and continued in this position until 2013, when he then became President of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers International Union.

In 2012, David was elected to serve as the Chairman of the Bakery and Confectionary Union and Industry International Health Benefits and Pension Funds. He also served as Vice President of the AFL-CIO and was a member of the Executive Council. He also served as chairperson of the AFL-CIO Capital Strategies Committee and as a Trustee of the National Labor College.

David served as an Executive Board Member of the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department, the First Vice President of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department and as Chairman of the AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Conference.

David spent his life fighting for workers’ rights and was an advocate for every union member. The lives he touched through is work are countless. David’s 47-year career as a member and leader of the BCTGM was marked by an unwavering, untiring and relentless commitment to protecting and advancing the rights and standard of living of union members and their families.

While serving the union full time, David earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Indiana in 1981, and his Master’s degree in agency counseling from Indiana State University in 1986. He was also a graduate of the Harvard University Trade Union Program.

David loved the outdoors and spent his leisure time camping, working in the yard, long walks, fishing, boating, and swimming. He was an automotive enthusiast of American-made vehicles, and enjoyed driving his Corvette and his truck, “The Bone”, which he rebuilt and raced in the early 1980s. David ran track in high school and later played and coached travel ice hockey in Evansville, where he was an integral member in building the Evansville Youth Hockey League. He was an avid IU Basketball fan and enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren play all sports. He loved all music and was always listening to a tune somewhere. David was a family man, and enjoyed any chance he had to spend time with his family, especially his grandchildren, where he was the happiest Papa around. One of his favorite activities was hosting his annual holiday Durkee Bowling Tournament, which brought in about 30 family members.