Profile: Judge John E. Duryea
By Ken Kellum
2005 Volume 1 Issue 4
Judge John E. Duryea, Jr., was born in New Hyde Park, New York. In 1969, when he was four years old, his family moved to Lee County. He attended Tice Elementary, Lee Middle and Riverdale High School where he formed some lifelong friendships. Judge Duryea began his higher education at Edison Community College and later moved on to earn his B.A. from the University of South Florida graduating in 1993 Cum Laude in Interdisciplinary Social Science with cognates in History and Criminology.
Following graduation from USF, he entered Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg earning his J.D. in 1996 also Cum Laude. Judge Duryea was awarded Law I, II, and III academic scholarships while attending Stetson. It was during this time, while serving an internship with Federal Magistrate Elizabeth Jenkins in Tampa, that he developed an interest in becoming a judge. "The internship gave me a good insight into the judiciary. Being a judge is pretty much what I expected."
Judge Duryea's first job as an attorney was with the State Attorney's Office in the 20th Judicial Circuit from 1996 until 1999. He then joined the firm of Conroy, Simberg and Ganon as a liability associate. In 2000, he moved on to the State-Wide Prosecutors Office where he remained until his appointment to the Lee County Bench by Governor Bush in 2003. At the time of his appointment he was the Chief Prosecutor in charge of the local office.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Judge Duryea had an interesting and varied career. Working and attend college, he became a State certified fire fighter, fire safety inspector, emergency medical technician and paramedic. Judge Duryea worked at the Iona-McGregor Fire Department for five and a half years from 1985 - 1988 and again from 1990 through 1993. From 1988 through 1990, he worked with the Mangonia Park Fire Department while Michele, his wife completed the Dental Hygiene Program at Palm Beach Community College. While at the Mangonia Fire Department, he achieved the rank of Assistant Fire Chief and was named the Employee of the Year by the Northern Palm Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
Judge Duryea was introduced to his wife, Michele, by a mutual friend in 1988. Things went well, they dated for nearly two years, married, and have been together for over fifteen years. Judge Duryea and Michele have a "boy" and a "girl", two boxers named Buster and Wendy. Michele is the lead Dental Hygienist at a local dental office.
When they are not working, Judge Duryea and Michele work out together with high school friends three or four times a week. "I enjoy that - well as much as you can." "I still stay in touch with best friends I have had since high school, middle school and even in some instances since elementary school." Besides friends and their two dogs, Judge Duryea and Michele share a passion for boating and fishing. Judge Duryea, an avid Bass fisherman, has recently taken delivery on a new bay boat, expanding his sights to the saltwater flats of Pine Island Sound. Judge Duryea's community involvements include the St Vincent DePaul Catholic Church and volunteering as a Section Marshal for the Edison Festival of Light Parade each year.