George Louis Duerksen

George L. Duerksen, 84, of Lawrence passed away on Tuesday, April 23rd 2019 at Neuvant House in Lawrence. A private family inurnment will be held at Pioneer Cemetery. The family welcomes friends to an open house at Pat and George’s home on Sunday, April 28th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

George was born on October 29, 1934 in St. Joseph, Missouri the son of George H. and Louise M. (Dalke) Duerksen. George was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Kansas, studying in Australia. He earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kansas. George met Patricia Beers at KU and they married in 1961. Patricia survives of the home. George taught in public schools prior to accepting a professorship at Michigan State University. He returned to the University of Kansas in 1969 to teach and lead the Music Education and Music Therapy Department until his retirement in 2011. He travelled extensively, teaching and mentoring in Saudi Arabia, England, Greece, Korea, and Australia.

Other survivors include his son, M. Jeffrey (Rochelle) Duerksen and daughter, Cynthia (Daniel) Rood both of Lawrence; four grandchildren, Matty, Allison, Jeffrey, and Tyler; and sister, Patricia Hoover, Raleigh, NC. He was preceded in death by his parents, and son, Joseph S. Duerksen.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to LMH Endowment Association to aid in Parkinson’s treatment and research, or a charity of donor’s choice. These can be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66044.

20 Condolences

  1. Julie Hedges Lowrance on April 24, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Dear Cyndi & Family:

    I am so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. May memories comfort you during this difficult time. I’m thinking of you.

    Julie Hedges Lowrance

  2. Dale Scannell on April 24, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    To the Duerksen Family

    During the 16 years I served as dean of the KU School of Educatiion, I had many opportunities learn about George’ scholarship and administrative leadership skill. He was a pleasure to work with in both parts of his position. When we were working on major curriculum reform, he guided the department t and contributed
    to the School wide aspects of the program. George was a fine person and a friend to cherish. His accomplishments will benefit students at KU and other programs for many years to come.

  3. Joyce Collins on April 24, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Thinking of you and your family during this time Cyndi. Focus on those great memories and celebrate your Dad!

  4. Helen Tuley on April 24, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    So sorry for your loss. He will live forever through the love in your hearts.

  5. Michele Vignola Rogers on April 24, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    So sorry for your loss Cyndi, Dan, Matt and Allie. Our prayers and love are with you all.

  6. Jil Duralde on April 25, 2019 at 5:50 am

    Dear Pat and Family,

    I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I will never forget George’s professionalism, knowledge, wisdom, kindness and support while in the graduate program at KU. He was an exemplar in music education.

  7. Dr. Brian Angevine on April 25, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Dr. Duerksen brought me onboard as a doctoral assistant in 1979. I worked closely with him and other assistants on a grant regarding PL94-142—special education. We presented summer programs to university educators to prepare them for the implementation of the law. In turn those educators helped pass strategies on to public school teachers. I conducted follow up research by visiting those university educators and helping to write the final reports. That experience shaped my future decision to change from a music education focus to become a special education teacher for the rest if my career. I appreciate Dr. Duerksen’s guidance during those years.

  8. elizabeth Miller on April 25, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Our loved ones leave a journey….footprints wherever they go–footprints of kindness and love, courage and compassion, humor and inspiration, joy and faith. Even when they fall asleep in death, they leave behind a trail bright with hope that invites us to follow.
    Our deepest sympathy… “Blessed are those….who walk in the light of your presence.” Psalms 89:15

  9. Rita Bublitz on April 25, 2019 at 10:34 am

    So sorry to hear of your loss. It is never easy to say good bye to those we love. He will always be watching over you. Please extend our condolences to your family.

  10. Jennifer Martello on April 25, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Dr. Duerksen was a great professor. I really enjoyed studying with me. Prayers and love to his family

  11. Paul Laird on April 26, 2019 at 11:38 am

    I was George’s colleague at KU from 1994 to 2011. I very much appreciated his warm personality, friendly smile, and helpful advice. I know that he made a difference in the lives of many of his students and that he will be missed by many. My condolences to his family and friends. May you find peace in your memories of him.

  12. Jim Doepke on April 26, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Dr Duerksen was a terrific influence on my music education path from KU (starting in 1970) through 33 years of teaching high school instrumental music and, following retirement, agreeing to form a group of music education majors to allow me to deliver a Conn-Selmer presentation. A wonderful educator and outstanding KU representative. RIP

  13. Pam Smith Kelly on April 26, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Dr. Duerksen was one of my favorite professors at KU while working on my Masters in Music Ed. He was always so kind and knowledgeable about so many things! All my love to his family! Pam Smith Kelly

  14. Patty McGrew on April 26, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    A wonderful man who inspired many & led KU’s Music Education & Music Therapy to continued excellence.
    Always friendly & approachable, he was an exceptional, positive influence on all he encountered.
    Heartfelt condolences to the entire family.

  15. Steve Kelly on April 26, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Dr. Duerksen was one of the kindest most caring individuals I knew at KU. He was an inspiration to this day for me. I will miss his compassion and professionalism.

  16. IVAN THOMAS on April 27, 2019 at 8:11 am

    To the Duerkson family, So sorry for your loss I truly enjoyed the Professors class when I was a frosh in Lawrence He was very encouraging

  17. Gary and Deb Johnson on April 27, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Deb and I send our sympathies.
    Dr. Duerksen was a wonderful person, professor, mentor, clinician and colleague!

  18. Laura Decedue on April 30, 2019 at 8:00 pm


    I am hugely sorry for your loss. My parents and I are keeping you in our thoughts. Deepest condolences.

  19. Anita Louise Steele Markland on May 6, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    To the Duerksen Family,
    I was a student working on my master’s under Dr. Gaston when I first met George. He was both personally, educationally and professionally a great help to me and I am so very grateful. I am thankful that I had an opportunity to tell him so. Several years ago when he officially retired, Dale Tayle, Bob McAllister (not an KU grad) and I gave a presentation in his honor to the school of music. It was wonderful to see him one last time. My heatfelt sympathy to the family in the loss of this kind and scholary man who leaves a such a positive mark on the field of music therapy and music education. Dr. Gaston would be very proud!

    Anita Louise (Steele) Markland, MMEd, MT-BC

  20. Mary Foy Wilmer on April 2, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Dr. Duerksen was a profoundly gifted educator. I still remember his teaching at Michigan State in 1967 and 1968. He was a challenger who always inspired us. I am grateful for him and for having the opportunity to be in his Psychology of Music class.

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