Eddie Ernestine Durkin

Eddie Ernestine Durkin, 84, of San Diego, California passed away on July 31, 2020 after a long and courageous battle with Leukemia while in the care of her family.  She was born March 1936 in  De Queen Arkansas to Ernest and Gwendolyn  Shands,  the only daughter and the oldest of 5 children.  Her family moved from Arkansas to San Diego in 1950.  In 1954 she was part of the first graduating class from Kearny High School.  In 1957 she met Leo Durkin while working as an elevator operator at a downtown department store.  They married June 20, 1959.    In 1958  she graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Education.  Ernestine amazingly completed her Master of Education degree in 1977 while working as a full- time teacher.  Ernie loved continually improving her teaching skills through professional development and she  became a  Master Teacher and mentor  in the San Diego Unified School district.  She taught for over 38 years which included tutoring her grandchildren and friends’ children. She was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and  enjoyed keeping in touch with these teacher friends regularly. She was a devoted wife,  mother, daughter, sister, aunt,  friend and a generous and compassionate soul.  She was honest and loyal to her family and friends.  She loved exploring the national parks with her family.  She loved the frequent trips to the Salton Sea,  Colorado River,  and the fishing outings at Fiesta Island. In retirement she enjoyed traveling and visiting her children and exploring the country with her husband in their motorhome.

Ernie was a woman of principle. She was a Christian by faith.   In 1977 she joined  the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints.  She served in a variety of volunteer positions. She served in the children’s Sunday school organization by mentoring teachers. She really loved coaching  women’s volleyball and basketball.

She loved the weekly tradition of meeting for lunch with her siblings’. She was very appreciative of the love and support she received from her family especially the last few difficult years of her life.  She was preceded in death by her father and mother, other family, and friends.   She is survived by her husband, Leo W. Durkin Jr. ,  their children; son  Leo W. Durkin III (Debra) and daughter Sherrie Davidson (Rob).  She is also survived by  siblings  Bob &(Sonia)Shands, Don & (Rosie) Shands, Barney &(Debbie) Shands, Woody& (Judy) Shands,  14 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, along with a great number of nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand nephews.

We appreciate all the love, prayers and support we have received from all of you during these challenging times.  Due to the restrictions for gathering in California we are holding a  family memorial service Aug 23rd  via zoom.  We would love for family and friends to share a memory or thought or two below about Ernie.

6 Comments. Leave new

  • Michelle Shands Briggs
    August 19, 2020 4:40 am

    Ernie was a wonderful aunt and an amazing mentor of mine. I treasure all my memories of her dearly. Her courage and strength were admirable as was ability to lead. I a
    M forever grateful for all she taught me and I will cherish the memories that were made. Rest In Peace.

  • Ernie I’m so glad we were sister in laws. I have a lot of fond memories of many camping trips and family gatherings where you would share family stories with us. Playing volleyball in your back yard and just being a sister that your brothers could talk to whenever they needed too. You will be missed by many! Love you & RIP❤️

  • Ernie was always such a bright light. Here smile was contagious. It’s been many years since I saw and talked with her, but the memories are still bright in my mind.

  • Ernie has been my dearest friend for so many years (35-40?) I have treasured our friendship!

    We spent so much time together, often having a blast watching movies. While watching she would always keep the TV remote in her hand and, without fail, accidentally push buttons sending our movie into fits. Every time she would say, “How did that happen??” Every time! We would laugh and laugh! In a recent letter to her I suggested that, when she gets to heaven, she needs to locate a TV for us so we can continue our “Murder Mystery” series.

    We had fun cooking together. Once when we were taking a casserole out of the oven, the whole thing fell face-down on the floor. After laughing about it we decided to just scrape off the top and eat it! With her, everything was a source for laughter! She had the capacity to make everything fun and funny.

    She and Leo were always right there for me whenever I needed anything. When I fell and broke my wrist I called them for help. Even though I caught them on their way out the door for their own business, they came right over and took me to the hospital. I could always count on them. Ernie was such a help!

    I also treasure the memories of traveling with Ernie and her family. I vividly remember going to the 4 Corners with them and to Lake Tahoe. It was a great privilege to be included. How gracious she was to let me come along.

    I enjoyed frequent calls on the phone with Ernie. She was my confidant. I was even blessed to speak with her just a couple of days before she passed. I feel keenly the loss of not speaking with her anymore. I love Ernie with all my heart and she is sorely missed by me!

  • Susie Gardner Ericsson
    August 23, 2020 10:34 pm

    I have such great, uplifting memories of my time spent in Ernie’s home. I always felt so warmly welcomed, and to a sensitive, uncertain youth, that was a God-send! Ernie radiated love and acceptance and I was exceedingly blessed to feel that love, which impacted my life so positively.

    Time spent in Ernie’s orbit was always fun times! She was a playful soul! I loved playing games with her and her family. I will always and forever associate “Pass The Pigs” with sitting around the Durkin table having a blast! A few times I was lucky to be included at some Shands Family parties! What a fun crew! By including me, Ernie made big difference in the life of this kid who had very little family around.

    Ernie’s strong faith in God helped bolster my own and I will always appreciate that she (and Sherrie!) would take the time and make the effort to travel with me (and Ulla) all the way to LA for my first temple endowment. She was always, always willing to serve and give to help others! What a saint!

    Ernie be will always in my heart!

  • Ernie was a wonderful friend and a valued mentor. She helped me better than my teaching skills over the 20 years we worked together. After she retired she continued as a great listener and parenting advisor. She had quite an impact on my life and those she worked with.


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