A fund has been established for those who would like to donate in his name. Please send donations to: Jim Durkel Memorial Fund, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, TX 78756.
On Monday, May 28, 2012, Jim Durkel passed away after a valiant struggle with multiple myeloma cancer. His death was peaceful and he was surrounded by friends and family.
Jim Durkel was one of those magical Renaissance men who had deep knowledge in an impossibly wide and varied range of areas. He was an accomplished audiologist and speech language pathologist before he joined the field of visual impairments and deafblindness, and became an outstanding resource on language development and communication issues with this population. In addition, he was a preferred resource on everything APH - using his position as manager of the APH materials in Texas to learn about and then help others use materials adapted for students with visual impairments in any and all areas of the expanded core curriculum, including specialty topics like math, science, reading and tactile graphics. Jim was asked to work directly with the APH as an advisor and participated on numerous committees as well as providing frequent input to more informal requests for suggestions from the field.
Jim wrote numerous articles for the statewide newsletter on an impressive variety of topics, from literacy to auditory issues, to TVI service delivery to many topics related to deafblindness
In addition, Jim created online courses, helping the rest of the Outreach Team to see how to use new media formats, such as our first online training module, designed to help new mentors develop basic mentoring skills prior to attending the in-person training. (See www.tsbvi.edu/course/). He shared his knowledge in modules posted on the Perkins website, the NCDB website and likely others. Jim was an instrumental partner in developing the new Pathways to Literacy website that is a co-production of Perkins and TSBVI (pathstoliteracy.org/) and contributed extensively to the blogs on the www.tsbvu.edu website: One example: Emerging Writing (blog).
Jim was an invaluable data collector who knew how to analyze what he collected, and made regional planning so much easier for the regional consultants around the state with his clear and easy to use spreadsheets.
Jim held numerous positions at TSBVI, including classroom teacher, DB Outreach Teacher, Statewide Staff Development Coordinator and Coordinator of APH materials, the VI Registration and the DB Census. His title does not reflect all the many ways in which Jim assisted the entire team, as he was a frequently requested presenter, a collaborator on the development of web-based training materials, and a go-to resource for people around the state and country. His talent at synthesizing complicated information to increase understanding of children's needs was awe-inspiring.
His partner, Steve, has requested that those wishing to honor Jim, make a contribution to a special fund at TSBVI or to the Multiple Myleoma Foundation.