Montana Bible College grieves the loss of Harlan Durgan, age 79, who died on January 20, 2021. We grieve not as the world grieves, but as those full of hope, knowing that Harlan is in the presence of His beloved Savior. Our hearts go out to Harlan’s wife, Alma, daughters Ralien and Rachel, and sons Shad and Dan, along with their families and the rest of the Durgan family.
Harlan was a faithful Board member of Montana Bible College for many years, almost from our founding. Board, Staff and Faculty members wrote words of remembrance like: “Harlan was a dear man of God. His testimony of faithfulness to the things that really matter is an inspiration. I’m glad he is perfectly well in the presence of the Savior, although he will be missed this side of glory.” “The hope which Harlan lived for is now his reality. What a tender warrior he was. Harlan was in Christ for so many years, and now he is with Him.” “What a humble example of Christlike faithfulness.” “I sure love that family. We go back a long way!! They are definitely examples of steadfast service for the Lord!”
Harlan grew up on the farm and never quit loving farm-life. His wife Alma often said of him, “You can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.” Even while living in town he planted flower and vegetable gardens that many enjoyed over the years. Finding efficient ways to irrigate and fertilize the gardens were hobbies he pursued. Growing up on the farm taught him he could fix anything, or at the very least, find a way to make it work.
At a young age, Harlan put his faith in Jesus and committed to serving Him with his life. He graduated from Pine Creek School and Park High school with the class of 1960. After high school he attended Montana Institute of the Bible (Alums now adopted by Montana Bible College) where he met his wife, Alma. The two were married in 1965 and spent 56 years loving, supporting, and helping one another. After Bible College, Harlan and Alma moved to Seattle so Harlan could attend graduate school at Seattle Pacific University.
After school Harlan was pleased to be called back home to Livingston where he became the pastor of the Livingston Congregational Church (now Living Hope). He served the Lord and the Livingston community for 42 years. During that time, he was honored to encourage people in and toward faith in a loving God, through worship services, AWANA, Bible Studies, funerals, weddings, visits, nursing home ministries, summer Bible camps, youth groups, and much more. Some of his favorite hobbies were ventriloquism, puppeteering, magic and children’s stories. He loved using those hobbies to remind kids that God loves them.
Harlan told the story of the good news of Jesus over and over again in many ways. The story was told at Harlan’s funeral that while he was in the hospital, in pain and knowing he was dying, the doctors were there saying, “What can we do to help you, Harlan?” Harlan responded that he was okay because of his faith in the Lord. “But,” he said, “I amconcerned about you guys.” Harlan’s funeral service video may be accessed here.
With Harlan’s homegoing, MBC has lost a dear brother and friend, and a faithful servant and prayer warrior. May his legacy inspire MANY to rise up in his place!