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Joseph S. Durkin

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84, of Northborough died Monday, July 16, 2007 at Marlborough Hospital. He is survived by his wife, Marynoel Durkin of Northborough; a daughter, Kathleen and her husband, Michael Borsuk, of Boylston; three sons, Joseph J. and his wife, Suzanne of Boylston, Sean P. and his wife Jane of Northborough, and Michael L. and his wife, Barbara of Northborough; four grandchildren, Casey, Sean, Connor and Molly Durkin of Northborough; many nieces and nephews. Joseph also leaves his brother, former U.S. Senator, John N. Durkin of Manchester, N.H. and a brother-in-law, Joseph X. Gubbins and his wife Gini of Phoenix, AZ. His sister, Mary M. Ward of East Longmeadow and brother, Lawrence A. Durkin of Reading, predeceased him. Mr. Durkin was born and raised in Brookfield. He was a graduate of Brookfield High and Bridgeton Academy in Bridgeton, ME. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN and his M.E.D. from Worcester State College. Joseph served during WWII as a USMC fighter pilot and Squadron Commander serving in the Pacific Theater. He earned many awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was recalled back to service during the Korean War as well. Mr. Durkin was principal of West Brookfield Elementary School and at the same time served on the North Brookfield School Committee, during the time when a controversial decision was made by the U.S. Supreme Court banning prayers in public schools. His lone defense of that decision received national attention, including a write-up and picture in LIFE magazine. He previously had also received media attention when the plane he was piloting to his wedding caught fire in mid-air from an oil leak. He landed safely in an open field and both he and his co-pilot escaped injury. Joseph also served as principal for the Woodward School in Southborough. He then became Director of Field Service for the Massachusetts Teachers Association. and his staff gained recognition as one of the premiere collective bargaining groups in the Northeast. Mr. Durkin later joined the American Federation of Teachers, organizing teachers unions nationwide. He was a member of many educational associations and the Notre Dame Club of Worcester County. A funeral Mass will be held Thursday, July 19th, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. in Saint Rose of Lima Church, 244 West Main St., Northborough. Burial will follow in Howard Street Cemetery. Calling hours will be held, Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 from 3-9 P.M. in Hays Funeral Home, 56 Main Street (Rte.20) NORTHBOROUGH. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the: Joseph S. Durkin Relief Fund, c/o Commonwealth National Bank, 564 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA 01545. For online condolences or directions please visit: www.haysfuneralhome.com
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