Durckel, 96, died peacefully in Houston, Texas October 14, 2013.
Paul was born in Oakland, California on October 1, 1917. He graduated from Stanford University in 1940.
In March 1943, he entered the US Army
Air Corps as a navigator with the 781st Airborne Squadron flying combat missions over Italy and Austria. In March 1945, his B-24 was shot down, with Lt. Durckel parachuting from the plane. Villagers captured Durckel and the surviving crewmembers. Three airmen had been hanged when a pair of German soldiers on patrol arrived and took him into custody. He was transported to a prisoner of war camp and finally liberated by General Patton's troops. He was awarded the E.A.M.E. with 5 Bronze Stars
, four other medals and nominated for a Distinguished Flying Cross. Post-war he was promoted to captain.
On December 11, 1946 he married Meredythe Jane Gardiner. Best Fertilizers brought him to Houston in 1948. Intrigued by the farming operations he saw in Reeves County, Texas while scouting a location for a new fertilizer plant, he purchased a farm near Pecos, Texas, raising cantaloupes, cotton and children.
He worked for American Plant Food from 1965 to 1969. He moved to Gardnerville, Nevada and worked in real estate until retiring.
Meredythe in 1973 and wife, Jacqueline in 2006, preceded him in death.
Kathleen Durckel Oliver, Ellen Durckel Vestewig, Bridgette Durckel Schleicher Beinecke, Gardiner Paul Durckel and their families survive him.
A memorial service will be held in Nevada, in the future. The family requests that donations be made to a