, Salem, MA

March 5, 2014

Norman Ralph Durkee, 91

Wenham — Norman Ralph Durkee, 91, died on Friday morning, February 28, at Wentworth Douglas Hospital in Dover, N.H. He was the son of Nancy and Ralph Durkee. He was born and raised in Danvers, Mass., and until recently, was proud to call Wenham his hometown. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 ½ years, Laura Durkee, and his four children, Steve Durkee and his wife, Carol, of Jacksonville, Fla., Karen Clarke and her husband, Mike, of Durham, N.H., Nancy Needham and her fiancé, Frank Sholds of Manchester, Mass., and Jeffrey Durkee and his wife, Jamie, of Marietta, Ga., nine grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and a very dear family friend of 39 years, Peg Leblanc of Salem, Mass. Mr. Durkee graduated from Danvers High School, and served proudly in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was fondly known as “The Voice of the Radio,” managing the Salem-based radio station, WESX, for 40 years. He even “lived” at the station for four days during the "Great Blizzard of '78,” so the public would continually be informed of snow happenings. He enjoyed sports, especially football, loved to dance with Laura when they were members of the Hamilton-Wenham Couples Club, liked musical productions, and was very civic minded. He was a Little League coach, served four terms in office as a Wenham Selectman, was a 32 degree Mason, Master of Danvers Mosaic Lodge, and a member of the Aleppo Shrine. He was also president of the Beverly Lions Club, president of the Beverly Chamber of Commerce, and treasurer of the Council on Aging. After his retirement in 1987, he enjoyed cruising with his family, became a wonderful cook, and took great pride nurturing his pristine lawn and fruit trees.

ARRANGEMENTS: There will be a Celebration of Life service at the First Congregational Church, Wenham, on Saturday, March 8, at 11 a.m. Burial will be held at a later date. Donations may be made in his memory to your local Alzheimer’s Association. Information, directions, condolences at