On Thursday, March 4, 2021, Walter Charles Kurczeski Jr., “Duke” — loving husband, father, grandfather and brother — passed away at his home in Tehachapi at the age of 87.
Born in June 1933 in Jersey City, N.J., his high school yearbook called him “one of our best athletes, excelling in football, basketball and baseball. He served our country in the Army during the Korean War and then moved to California where he met and married Joanne Thompson.
Duke worked in construction for most of his life and taught his kids as well as grandkids about the value of hard work. He loved western movies and novels, which was appropriate considering he shared his nickname with John Wayne. He took his family on road trips around America and never stopped working or moving until toward the end of his life.
Duke is survived by his wife, Joanne, and six of their seven children, as well as 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Bakersfield National Cemetery, date to be determined.