Louise E. Durant

October 7, 1926July 22, 2022
Obituary of Louise E. Durant


R. Stutzmann & Son

A thundercloud appeared on the horizon, and soon lightning flashed across the sky. Strong winds swept over the meadows and billowing fields of grain. The thunder pealed in loud claps. Then rain came in cool fresh showers. In a little while the storm was over, and a rainbow appeared. From the woods on the other side of the bay, the church bells were tolling in the quiet evening. These wondrous and dramatic sights and sounds inspired the hymn writer to compose the timeless classic, “How Great Thou Art.” Four decades forward, it was again that time of year when the land was boasting its richest color; the birds were singing in the trees everywhere. While sharecroppers worked in the warm Autumn of Charleston, South Carolina on October 7, 1926, young field hands beckoned the county midwives to the home of Viola Hamilton and Alexander Harry Smalls to deliver their eldest daughter, Louise Elizabeth. Precocious and intellectually gifted from her toddler years, Louise excelled in her early childhood education, graduating from High School in Charleston with honors. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, young Louise migrated North, settling in New York to reside with her Aunt Hattie Mae Walker. Right away, she went to work as a nanny for Muriel and Sanford Mohel, the children of Jesse and Doris Mohel, later accepting employment as a Clerk for New York State Insurance Fund. After two years of living and working in New York and visiting various churches, her Aunt Hattie suggested Louise visit her home Church, Gateway Second Church of God in Christ on South Road in Jamaica, NY. There Louise was saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost under the leadership of Superintendent Samuel Lee Osbourne. After Superintendent Osbourne’s transition, she continued to serve Gateway under the pastorate of the late Superintendent Albert Leroy Burns, and finally, Superintendent William Robinson. Young, dedicated, hardworking, and completely devoted to every area of the local ministry, Louise would fulfill an honorable lifetime of service at Gateway–for over 75 years–as Church Secretary, Sunday School Teacher, YPWW Leader, Prayer & Bible Band President, Pastor’s Aide Worker, Trustee Board Member, Evangelist Missionary and Church Mother, frequently blessing families in mourning with her stirring rendition of “How Great Thou Art” at local services of homegoing. In the Spring of 1961–the robins again in the trees singing–she met, instantly loved and, having embraced the approval of her Pastor, Superintendent Osbourne, accepted the marriage proposal of the ruggedly handsome Alleyne Fitzroy Durant. The holy exchange of their matrimonial vows was solemnized August 12, 1961. Together, they raised four children: Janice, Peter, Robin and Lori. Always giving, always caring, always nurturing, Louise shared their home with many family and friends who temporarily needed a place to stay. In fact, during the early years of their marriage, Louise and “Teddy” opened their home for free room and board to traveling evangelists ministering at Gateway and the surrounding area churches. Later, during their children's adolescent years, her home was filled, Sunday afternoons year-round, with the youth of Gateway, not to mention the countless holiday gatherings, catered events, evening dinners and hosted weddings for friends and neighbors at the family estate. A welcoming sanctuary for runaways and the destitute, Mother’s doors remained opened wide for children, teens and young adults during troubling seasons of their lives, often seeking relief, shelter, Godly wisdom and safety. This diverse delegation of visitors cannot omit those whose lives she touched in her world travels throughout Europe and the Islands of the Caribbean. In 2011, after 50 blessed years of marriage, her beloved “Teddy” joined that “great cloud of witnesses” awaiting the enraptured sainted sweet soul of his precious “Sapphire.” A focused and driven career woman of her times, she matriculated at LaGuardia Community College and received an Associate’s degree in Education in 1973 from the College’s very first graduating class. Continuing in her studies, she went on to receive her Baccalaureate degree in Education from York College (1975) and ultimately earning her Master’s in Early Childhood Education & Childhood Development also from York College. As a result of her academic preparation, Louise commenced gainful employment as a Financial Aide Counselor at LaGuardia Community College and concurrently Adjunct Professor for the Coop-Ed Department’s offsite campus in Brooklyn. One of the most rewarding highlights of her education and career arrived in 2016, when York College acknowledged her as the School’s oldest living graduate at the milestone age of 90. Following the inspiration of her early spiritual fathers, her learning never extinguished her burning: Mother Durant’s early Jurisdictional work under the leadership of Superintendent Clifford Daniels, Sr. is etched into the chronicles of Eastern New York Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ, as State YPWW Chairlady and, most distinctly, under the Prelacy of the late Bishop Frank Otha White as District Missionary of Port West District, Third Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, Eastern New York. Moreover, under the Supervisorship of Mother Evelyn Green and Mother Edna P. Foster Lewis, Mother Durant was appointed to the work of President, Business and Professional Women’s Federation and, at the Departmental Level, served for more than two decades as UJAC Chairlady and AIM Chairlady alongside her future Prelate, Bishop Frank Anthone White. A devoted Bible reader, scholar, teacher and graduate of the Diocesan Mason Kelly Washington White Religious Training Institute, she brilliantly balanced her community service on the Board of Elections, Democratic Club and PTA with fervently bringing up her children in the fear and admonition of God’s Word. Bittersweetly, one daughter, Janice; two brothers, Walter and James, and two sisters Dorothy and Agnes, precede her glorious transition from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant on July 22, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. To celebrate and memorialize her victorious entry into the eternal splendor of her Savior’s presence are her loving children: Peter, Robin and Lori; her five grandchildren: Russell, Rachel, Joshua, Jourdan and Joel; five greatgrandsons: Russell Jr., Aaron, Christian, Alijah and Ryan; one surviving brother, Abraham Smalls, the last of her five siblings; her closely cherished Emelda, Elvis, Jonathan, Jusstin and Joshua, a heartwarming extended family circle of nieces, nephews and cousins, and her beloved Gateway Second Church of God in Christ Family. “When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration, And there proclaim, My God, how great thou art!” DONE WITH LOVE, The Family A visitation for Louise will be held Friday, August 12, 2022 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Gateway Second Church of God in Christ, 135-01 Rockaway Blvd, South Ozone Park, NY 11420. A visitation will occur Saturday, August 13, 2022 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM at Zion Cathedral Church of God in Christ, 312 Grand Ave, Freeport, NY 11520. A celebration of life will occur Saturday, August 13, 2022 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Zion Cathedral Church of God in Christ, 312 Grand Ave, Freeport, NY 11520. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Durant family.

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