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Kenna Olsen Durfee

Nov. 28, 1926 - Apr. 23, 2022

Date of Service: May 3, 2022

BURLEY – Kenna Olsen Durfee returned to her Heavenly Home and her anxiously-awaiting and much-beloved “Durf” on April 23, 2022, at the age of 95. There is no doubt their reunion was a grand one.

Kenna was born on a cold and wintry day, November 28, 1926, at her home in Oakley, Idaho, to Leslie Ransom and Jesse Lillian (Wilson) Olsen. When she didn't breathe right away her father took her to the sink and put her under cold water….and that is where Kenna took her first breath and began her 95 year adventure.

Kenna was the first child and only daughter of Les and Jesse. However, four years later she was blessed with a playmate, her brother Kerry, whom she adored. Kenna spent her early, happy years in Oakley with her family as well as a few aunties who coddled and spoiled her. Her mother had a talent for sewing; therefore, Kenna always had beautiful dresses and clothes to wear – which she loved throughout her life, as well as sparkly jewelry, anything gold, plenty of perfume and her signature “love that pink” lipstick.

After a few years the family moved from Oakley to Utah, which became a pattern for the little family as they made happy memories together moving back and forth from Idaho to Utah as was needed for work, business and education. Kenna’s mother always had the desire to earn a teaching degree. So, the family moved to Albion, Idaho, so Jesse could attend Albion State Normal School.

As a sixth grader Kenna flourished as she spent her time roller skating, sledding, and tap dancing with college students – which is where she gained her love of dancing. Along with her partner in crime, Kerry, she learned to ride horses, shoot rifles, swim, and drive any vehicle she climbed into. She participated in drama, singing, writing poems and stories, and even learned how to apply stage makeup. During her senior year of high school she worked at M.H. King’s Variety Store after school and for Ruth Marshall at the Style Shop, which was something Kenna knew a lot about! During war time dating was nonexistent; but once the war was over she was catching the eye of many eligible bachelors. She was particularly smitten with a smart and handsome Almo lad named Walter, who was star struck and enthralled with the “fancy” Oakley beauty.

On June 9, 1945, Kenna married Walter Leland Durfee in San Diego, Calif. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Ogden Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From this union they were blessed with four beautiful children, Jerry O’Del Durfee (stillborn), Connie (Doug) Spaulding of Kent, Wash., Brett (Kandace) Durfee of Burley, and Steven (Jody) Durfee of Willard, Utah; 13 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; and two great- great-grandchildren.

Kenna graduated from Utah State University with a history and art major. She and Durf settled in Rupert, Idaho, and taught school in Minidoka County for a combined 64 years in classrooms. Kenna loved teaching English and Literature at East Minico Jr. High School and was a favorite among the students because of her love of art, reading and creativity. At times she would trade her high heels for tennis shoes and play baseball with her students. She was also, according to her sons, a master at ping pong.

In addition to teaching, Durf and Kenna loved to spend time traveling, golfing, bowling, and dancing; and, they were ardent fans of the Utah Jazz. In the 70s they even owned a disco in Rupert. They spent many happy hours watching the “kids” who came to enjoy the lights and music. After retiring from teaching they moved to Burley, Idaho, where they spent their time fishing, camping, playing cards, and spoiling grandchildren – particularly the granddaughters who loved to dress up in grandma’s jewelry, put on her makeup and silky nighties, and sleep in grandma’s bed.

Kenna was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in various callings throughout her lifetime. She enjoyed attending church with her family and hosting grand and delicious dinners at her home. On August 15, 2014, her love passed on without her. This event brought a big change to her world. She lived eight more years surrounded by her loving family and spreading sunshine wherever she was.

Kenna is survived by her children and grandchildren and was preceded in death by her parents; her infant son; her brother and sister-in-law; and her adoring husband.

The family expresses their sincere appreciation to the caring staff members at Maple Springs Assisted Living in Brigham City, Utah; particularly her hospice nurse, Rachele, from Aegis Healthcare. They also wish to recognize the loving watch care from her sweet friend, Marilyn, at Maple Springs.

Kenna was loved and adored by many and will be greatly missed. Dance Kenna, dance!

Family and friends will be received from 9:30 until 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 3, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley.

A private family graveside service will follow at Pleasant View Cemetery in Burley.

Condolences for Kenna Olsen Durfee

Comments may be screened and removed by the staff as deemed appropriate.

From Kelly Arritt:
What great memories I have of your mom. She was always so accepting and giving. Both your mom and dad were that way. What great neighbors they were. I have great memories of the old neighborhood. You are all in my prayers.
From Marjorie Jensen:
Knew her as a teacher also as a friend in my grown up adult years through her son Bret.RIP. sweet lady.You made an impression on my life.
From Jerry Wind:
Such a charming lady, loved to spend time with her as she shared her beauty, her experiences and her beautiful works of art. She will be missed
From lynn hunsaker:
Over fifty years ago and I still remember Mr. and Mrs. Durfee. Everyone in school loved them.
From Gary Lowder :
What a wonderful lady, neighbor and family. Beautiful life worth celebrating! Love and blessings to her family.
From Anne & Jacky Gochnour :
I am so sorry for your loss. My mommy knew Kenna and thought the world of her. I only had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of times but she was always so much fun!
From Janie Payne:
She was such a fun teacher. Loved her.
From Lisa Burgess Sibbett:
What a beautiful lady and everyone’s favorite teacher in Jr High. Rest in peace sweet lady. Prayers for your family.

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