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William Wayland Durham

William Wayland “Bull” Durham

William Wayland “Bull” Durham, 74, a lifelong resident of DeRidder, left this world better than he found it, surrounded by his family, on Thursday, June 23rd.

Wayland was born December 19, 1947, the second of four children to Rev. W.O. Durham and Pettie Beason Durham, who instilled in him an unwavering devotion to Christ and Steen’s Cane Syrup.

Wayland outkicked his coverage when he met his sweetheart, Joyce Garris at DeRidder High School. What started as trading brief anonymous notes on the desktop laid the foundation for a 57-year love story.

Durham enlisted in the Army in 1969, and rose to the rank of Sergeant. His bride joined him in Lawton, Oklahoma for a time before he was stationed in Germany, where he was entrusted to processing passes for personnel to go behind the Iron Curtain.

After the Army, his love for home and his wife called him back to DeRidder, where he attended McNeese State. With an everlasting devotion to country, he embarked on a distinguished 29-year career at Fort Polk where everyone on post and installations across the country knew him simply as “Bull” – a nod to his stubbornness and the fact that he was often full of it.

Upon retirement, he picked up the hobby of real estate – a perfect fit for a man who saw the best in everything and never met a stranger. At 59, he won the 2006 Beauregard-Vernon Real Estate Agent of the Year Award.

Above all, Wayland dedicated his life to Christ. Wayland was a faithful deacon for more than 40 years at Ludington Baptist and Westview Baptist Church. A steadfast leader in the church, he taught Sunday school for decades, where he influenced the lives of countless youth, young adults and married couples. He sang bass in a gospel quartet throughout the 80’s and 90’s and wrote numerous gospel songs.  He ministered to prisoners at LCIS.  For over a decade, he spent his Sunday afternoons at Westwood Manor Nursing Home, where he would wheel residents from their rooms to the living area so he could share the Lord’s word. Wayland loved and gave unconditionally and always in the name, and for the honor, of Jesus Christ.

Wayland dedicated his time to the community as well. He was a fixture at West Park for over 25 years, coaching baseball to hundreds, including his sons and eldest grandsons.  Wayland also loved the Impromptu Theatre. If you attended a showing at the theatre in the past 20 years, you likely knew Wayland. He was onstage, backstage and everywhere in between; typically with a cup of coffee, a kind word, and a smile. It was about the theatre, but for Wayland, like everything he did, it was more about the relationships he formed.

Always knowing how to draw a laugh, even some of his last words spoken had the timing of a seasoned comedian. Once the laughs waned, his faith was clear when he shared with his family and friends he was “ready to go home.”

Wayland is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Joyce Garris Durham, three sons, Russell Durham, and wife, Christin, Michael Durham, and Brent Durham, and wife Jeanne, seven treasured grandchildren, Tyler, Brendan, and wife, Hannah, Bethany, Sawyer, Gleason, Claire, and Elijah; one great grandson, Oliver; his brother, Dr. Marcus O. Durham, and wife, Rosemary; and two sisters, Deborah Esta, and Kahlan Stanley, and husband, Lonnie. He was preceded by in death by his parents, William Oliver Durham and Pettie Durham, and two great grandchildren, Beckham and Celeste.

Visitation will be Saturday, June 25th from 4 PM to 8 PM at Myers Colonial Funeral Home, with a service on Sunday, June 26th, at Westview Baptist Church in DeRidder, at 2 PM.

William Wayland Durham
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