Maureen Wolkoff Durwood

Maureen Wolkoff Durwood, adored wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend passed away peacefully on August 6, 2018.

Funeral services will be held at Mt. Moriah, Newcomer & Freeman Funeral Home, 10507 Holmes Rd, Kansas City, MO at 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 9th. A celebration of Maureen’s life will follow the service for family and friends at the Carriage Club, 5301 State Line Road.

Born in Providence, RI, to Julia and William Wolkoff, Maureen was embraced by a loyal, extended family who often gathered at her childhood home and enthusiastically fostered her developing talents. Her grandfather, Jacob Schmelz, born in Vienna, provided Maureen’s first introduction to Opera – igniting a passion that continued throughout her life.

Maureen graduated from Hope High School in Providence RI with honors – earning a scholarship to Brown University. It is at Brown where she met Richard Durwood, her prince for life. The story goes that she was studying at the library, when Dick spotted her and came up to say hello. A pile of her books suddenly fell over. Dick picked them up and the rest, as they say, is history.

During spring break of Dick’s junior year, with her parent’s permission, Dick brought Maureen to visit his family and propose. It was Maureen’s first plane ride. Dick’s father, Edward D. Durwood, gave a huge party in their honor at his Ward Parkway home. E.D.D. instantly liked Maureen – commenting that Dick had found “a diamond in the rough”. They were married that summer on June 24th. Maureen and Dick moved permanently to Kansas City the next year following Dick’s graduation from Brown – where he went on to work at Durwood Theatres (later becoming AMC Entertainment).

Their family increased by three: the oldest Keith followed by his sisters, Jan and Dana. During that time, Maureen finished her degree and graduate work at UMKC, immersed herself in the community and easily attained leadership roles. Her vision, outgoing personality and exceptional fundraising skills were welcomed first by Brandeis University National Women’s Committee where she was National Vice President, Regional President and a Member of the Board of Directors. She went on to represent Menorah Hospital Auxiliary, Planned Parenthood, Council of Jewish Women and the Legal Aid Society by becoming a Board of Director Member. She was Vice President of the Jewish Federation Women’s Division of Kansas City. Eventually, her love of performing arts and passion for opera led her to The Lyric Opera Circle, where she became President and Ball Chairman – setting the bar for raising funds during her tenure. She went on to become Secretary, Vice-President and Member of the Lyric Opera Circle Board of Directors. Maureen is listed in Who’s Who American Women, Who’s Who Midwest and Who’s Who World Jewry.

Community involvement wasn’t Maureen’s only endeavor. She and Dick both loved to travel the world and over time, made it to most international spots. She read extensively about each new location and made friends and contacts everywhere they went. Eventually, Maureen became an invaluable resource for others – becoming a travel consultant designing original, first class itineraries and experiences throughout the world for her friends and clients.

Dick’s movie theatre ties provided many occasions for Maureen to meet Hollywood Stars and capture special photographic memories. On their first trip to Europe, Dick arranged for them to spend the afternoon on the set of Cleopatra in Rome. It was there that Maureen, whose beauty resembled Elizabeth Taylor, caught the brief attention of Richard Burton. She chatted with him between scenes and was introduced that day to Elizabeth Taylor.

Maureen’s life was rich with love, family, community lifelong friends, travel and many, many acquaintances. She is survived and missed by her devoted husband, Richard Durwood, her sisters Phyllis Bernstein (Robert Bernstein), Marcia Budarz (Bill Budarz), her children Keith Durwood, Jan Durwood and Dana Wylie, her sons-in-law David Wylie and Skip Champion, daughter-in-law Heidi Durwood and their beloved grandchildren Jessica Wylie, Aaron Wylie and Tyler Durwood.

The family would like to acknowledge the exceptional services of Bridget Hawkins. Her love and care for Maureen unquestionably added years to her life. We are grateful to have had this extra time together.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Musical Theater Heritage, The Lyric Opera of KC, KC Symphony, Harriman Jewell or a charity of your choice.


  • Jacob Schmelz (deceased), Grandfather
  • William Wolkoff (deceased), Father
  • Julianna Wolkoff (deceased), Mother
  • Richard Durwood, Husband
  • Phyllis (Robert) Bernstein, Sister
  • Marcia (Bill) Budarz, Sister
  • Keith Durwood, Son
  • Heidi Durwood, Daughter-in-law
  • Jan Durwood, Daughter
  • Skip Champion, Son-in-law
  • Dana Wylie, Daughter
  • David Wylie, Son-in-law
  • Jessica Wylie, Granddaughter
  • Aaron Wylie, Grandson
  • Tyler Durwood, Grandson
  • The family would like to acknowledge the exceptional services of Bridget Hawkins. Her love and care for Maureen unquestionably added years to her life. We are grateful to have had this extra time together.

  • Keith Durwood, Pallbearer
  • Tyler Durwood, Pallbearer
  • Dana Wylie, Pallbearer


  • Funeral Service Thursday, August 9, 2018
  • Committal Service Thursday, August 9, 2018

Maureen Wolkoff Durwood

have a memory or condolence to add?

Thomas Woolery

August 20, 2018

Keith and Mr. Richard Durwood;

Just heard about your loss.

My prayers are with you and the family.

Thomas H Woolery

Largo Callenbach

August 7, 2018

“If ever we should be apart
Just hold me in your heart
And I will stay there forever💗”
Winnie the Pooh

So grateful for all the occasions that allowed us to know such a lovely, gracious, warm, sassy and fun woman.
Our loving arms of caring and support are around each of you,
Largo and John