January 28, 1928 – June 5, 2019
Sylvia Duerksen, age 91, passed away peacefully after a brief illness on June 5th 2019.
Sylvia found her calling in life while taking art lessons at the age of nine from a neighbor, Flossie Ruhl. Sylvia described Flossie as a superb teacher who taught her ”everything she needed to know” to succeed as an artist. Sylvia went on to study at the Corcoran School of Art and George Washington University, obtaining her undergraduate degree.
Sylvia enjoyed a distinguished career as an artist at the United States Department of Agriculture, illustrating countless educational publications. Her retirement certificate sums up her career as follows: ”... 44 years of dedicated and outstanding service to the United States Government as an artist and designer. (Her) artwork has appeared in an untold number of publications that disperse information worldwide. (Her) many drawings of Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl have inspired millions of people to preserve and protect our fragile environment.”
Sylvia was devoted to her family and extended family. She lived most of her life in her cherished family home in North East Washington, DC, and cared for her parents and her sister Vera in their later years.
in her retirement, Sylvia traveled the world, always with a sketchbook under her arm.
In recent years Sylvia resided at the Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield, VA where she made new friends and continued to produce art to share with her community and family.
Sylvia is survived by her niece Christine Saalbach, nephews Fred Saalbach and William Saalbach, and great— nephews and nieces: Timothy, Jason, Julia, Rebecca, Mark, Elizabeth, and Katherine, all of whom will miss her.
Funeral services will be held on June 28, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Chapel at Greenspring Retirement Community-«7420 Spring Village Dr, Springfield, VA 22150, followed by a reception.
Burial will be private.
- Visitation Friday, June 28, 2019
- Funeral Service Friday, June 28, 2019