Joseph Bernard Durst, age 97, of La Crosse, died on October 5, 2018 in La Crosse. He was born on January 13, 1921 in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. During World War II he served as a pilot/instructor on B17 bombers. Following his military service, he married Joan Koch in 1948 and attended Marquette University Medical School, specializing in OB-GYN. His medical career began in 1955 at Grandview Hospital and Clinic, La Crosse. He later joined Skemp-Grandview Clinic (which eventually became Mayo Clinic Health System-La Crosse). By the time he retired in 1987, he had delivered more than 6500 babies and treated countless patients. In 1991 he began a new career as Senior Vice President of the St. Francis Hospital Foundation until his retirement in 2014.
Throughout Joe’s time in La Crosse he was active in Blessed Sacrament Parish, Serra Club, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Downtown Rotary (where he has a lifetime perfect attendance), local and state medical organizations, and numerous other community initiatives. He was twice the recipient of the Spheres of Influence Award from the St. Francis Foundation among other accolades.
Joe golfed and played cards with a special group of friends. He enjoyed traveling and had visited all 7 continents. He participated in the Freedom Honor Flight in 2011.
Joe is survived by his daughter Meg (Jack) Storkamp and their daughters Clare (Paul) Thornley and Laura (Nick) Zielinski; daughter Kathi (Kevin) Hansen; and daughter Barb Durst. Also survived by granddaughters Ezri Durst and Greta Durst, three great-grandchildren, and one sister, Luanne Durst, FSPA.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Joan; his son Joe; an infant son, Paul; two brothers and two sisters.
The family would like to thank the staff at Hillview Terrace Assisted Living, who helped Joe feel so at home for 5 years, Hillview Care Center, and all his healthcare providers at Mayo Clinic Health System, La Crosse.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 AM on Friday, October 12, 2018 at Blessed Sacrament Church, 130 Losey Blvd South, La Crosse with burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Friends and family may call from 4:00-7:30 PM on Thursday Oct. 11 at Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave. South, La Crosse.
Memorials appreciated to Bridges of Belonging, Inc. at bridgesofbelonging.org or PO Box 546, La Crosse, WI 54601; St. Clare Health Mission, 916 Ferry St., La Crosse, WI 54601; or Blessed Sacrament Parish, 130 Losey Blvd. South, La Crosse, WI 54601 or bsplacrosse.org.