Eugene and Evelyn Durand never could have imagined at their wedding day on August 27, 1950, that they would be celebrating their seventieth wedding anniversary in 2020.
After graduating from Washington Missionary College (now Washington Adventist University), Eugene was called to pastor churches in New Jersey. Their two daughters, Martha and Rebecca, were born during this time. After five years of pastoring in New Jersey, Eugene was ordained as an Adventist minister. The Durands were then called to the mission field in Venezuela. They spent five years pastoring, raising up churches, learning Spanish, and homeschooling their daughters.
After spending the summer of 1962 traveling across the United States to attend the General Conference Session in San Francisco, they returned to the mission field, this time in Colombia. Eugene pastored a large church in Barranquilla. After eight years of mission service they returned to the United States, where Eugene took a position teaching Spanish at Columbia Union College (his alma mater) for four years. Evelyn got her B.S. in nursing and served as a public health nurse for several years.
Eugene then worked as a copy editor at the Review and Herald Publishing Association for a year. Kenneth Wood, editor of Adventist Review, hired him to serve as his personal assistant for the next eight years. During that time, Eugene earned a Ph.D. in American Religious History from George Washington University, with a dissertation that resulted in a book published by the Review and Herald entitled Yours in the Blessed Hope, Uriah Smith. When Wood retired, the new executive editor, William Johnsson, invited Eugene to serve as an assistant editor, which he did for the next 10 years. During that time, Evelyn worked at Amazing Facts as Joe Crews’ secretary.
Eugene retired in 1993. Evelyn says, “Wives never retire.” The couple moved to Northern California in 2001 to be near their granddaughter, Carrie, a veterinarian, and her husband, Jason, a chiropractor. They built a modular home on 10 acres. A wildfire in 2017 destroyed their home, vehicles, and nearly everything they owned. Thanks to insurance coverage, the Durands rebuilt on the same property. They continue to enjoy a beautiful west-facing hillside with the Sutter Buttes and snow-capped mountains in view, daily sunsets, rose and flower gardens, a kitchen garden, and being surrounded by the quiet countryside.
Eugene is now 92 years old; Evelyn is 90; and both are in good health. When asked the secret to 70 years of happy marriage, they answer: make God first and be unselfish. Eugene says, “Evelyn is, and continues to be, the most unselfish person I know.”