Mary Lou was born at the farm house to Herman C. and Mary Fast Franz in Liberal, Kansas on May 22, 1926 as the second twin to Betty Bodine of Roeland Park, KS. They were joined five years later by a brother, Donald Franz. The family moved to Halstead, KS in 1935 where she attended Halstead High School. She enrolled at Bethel College where she graduated with a BA in Home Economics and taught at Silvia High School. She married Joseph Duerksen on May 29, 1952. The couple moved to New Orleans in 1954 where he interned at the Charity Hospital. Philip Keith was born January 15, 1955. They returned to Newton, KS and practiced at the Bethel Clinic. In 1956 they were appointed under the General Conference Mennonite Church to the Sewa Bhawan Hospital in Jageeshpur, CG, an isolated village. Both Mary Christine and Mark Joseph were born at SBH. In 1962, they returned to KC where Joe did further training at KUMC. They returned to India in 1963. The next six years they served in the Christian Hospital, Champa. In 1969 they returned to KC where Joe trained in anesthesiology and joined KUMC and later St. Luke’s Hospital.
They were involved in the life of the Rainbow Mennonite Church. She co-managed the Gift and Thrift Store across from KUMC with Rose Houghton for ten years and raised the family. She is fondly remembered in India. She has always been a loving, caring, supportive person to all.
Mary Lou is survived by her husband of 62 years, Joe, her twin sister Betty Bodine; children Philip Keith Duerksen and Rev. Norma Peters Duerksen; Mary Christine and Gil Jara,and granddaughter Nicole Jara, Cathy Grenz; son Mark Joseph Duerksen, sisters-in-law Christine Waltner and Lois Deckert and nieces and nephews.
The memorial service will be at the Rainbow Mennonite Church, 1444 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, KS at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, 2015. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made through the church designated for MCC, MM Network, Freedom School or to the charity of your choice.