Durand Arthur Acquinas Durand was born on June 9, 1944, in Spooner, Wis. to Arthur James and Elinore Elizabeth (Becker) Durand. He entered through heaven's gates with thanksgiving in his heart on May 10, 2012, at the age of 67. He was surrounded by his family at their home in Plattsmouth, Neb.
Arthur Acquinas Durand was born on June 9, 1944, in Spooner, Wis. to Arthur James and Elinore Elizabeth (Becker) Durand. He entered through heaven's gates with thanksgiving in his heart on May 10, 2012, at the age of 67. He was surrounded by his family at their home in Plattsmouth, Neb.
He graduated from Spooner High School in 1962. He then went on to receive a bachelor's degree in history from Wisconsin State University in 1966, a master's degree in history and constitutional law, and a doctorate in history and political theory from Louisiana State University in 1968 and 1976, respectively.
He received his commission as a distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1966. Entering active duty in 1967, he served in the United States Air Force for over 28 years as an Intelligence Officer and as a History Instructor at the United States Air Force Academy. He retired in 1995 having obtained the rank of Colonel. Colonel Durand's awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.
Upon his retirement from the Air Force, he turned his passion for nature, design, teaching and serving others into two new careers - owner and operator of The Village Nursery, a Garden Center in Plattsmouth, Neb. and as a professor of Social Sciences at Metro Community College in Omaha, Neb. He strived for excellence in everything he did, leaving a special touch on the places and hearts of those entrusted to him.
In 1988, Colonel Durand published a major historical study titled, Stalag Luft III: The Secret Story, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and an alternate selection of the History Book Club. His book is still considered the definitive work concerning life in Stalag Luft III, the camp that served as the focal point of the movie "The Great Escape."
Of all his accomplishments, the one he cherished the most was winning the heart of his beloved wife Phyllis. They met early in his military career, married and shared 41 wonderful years together, raising three sons, Brennan, Darin, and Ryan.
Arthur was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Mary Lou Cockerham.
He is survived by his wife, Phyllis Durand; three sons, Brennan Durand and wife Lori, Darin Durand, Ryan Durand and wife Robyn; grandchildren, Chelci, Laramie, Jakob and Breyden; brother, Bill Durand and wife Donna; sister, Rose Wong and husband Raymond. He is also survived by a host of loving family, friends and his faithful dog, Sarge.
He is most thankful to his Heavenly Father for the saving grace of Jesus Christ. May his wisdom and graciousness be carried on by all of those whose lives he touched.
Visitation will be on Friday, May 18, from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. with family greeting friends from 6 until 8 p.m. at the funeral home.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 19, at 10:30 a.m. at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 2311 Fairview Road, Bellevue, Neb. with Rev. Fred Simon officiating.
Memorials may be directed to the Wounded Warriors Project.
Arrangements by Harvey Funeral Home, Plattsmouth, Neb. (402) 296-4445.
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