Bernard A. Durand, 74
Dr. Bernard “Bud” Durand of Springfield, Virginia, died in the arms of his beloved wife, Cheryl Durand, the morning of December 20, 2018 in Fairfax, Virginia, at the age of 74. Diagnosed with amyloidosis in 2013, and given a prognosis of approximately one year, Bud fought the disease successfully for 5 years.
Bud was born on December 16, 1944 in Harrisburg (lived in Wilkes-Barre), Pennsylvania, to Margaret “Peggy” and Bernard “Bud” Durand. When he was still an infant, his family moved to Northeast Washington, DC. His sister Margo Durand was born in 1949. The family also lived in Southwest DC for a few years, then moved to Oxon Hill, MD in 1955. Bud was an Eagle Scout and had various part-time jobs throughout his later childhood. He received his primary and secondary education from Catholic schools, graduating as valedictorian of his senior class at Mackin High School in 1962. Bud attended Catholic University, was a member of Sigma Pi Delta fraternity, completed the Air Force ROTC program, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering and commission in the Air Force as a second lieutenant.
Bud fell in love with Cheryl Chaney and married her in 1966 before he finished college. They were the first couple to be married in the Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church Hall in Woodbridge, VA. After graduation, the two of them moved to Del Rio Texas in 1967 for his first Air Force assignment – flight school at Laughlin Air Force Base. Bud dreamed of being an astronaut, and later a commercial pilot; unfortunately, he had a vision problem that kept him from finishing flight school, and ended his dream of being an astronaut. Luckily, Bud was assigned to the Apollo Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Houston. Bud became the flight controller for the primary guidance and navigation system for the lunar lander, or lunar excursion module (LEM or LM). This was the highlight of his career. Not only did he have a front seat at Mission Control during Neil Armstrong’s historic first step (Apollo 11), but he also experienced a synergistic and exciting work environment that he would never see again in his career. He was on the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Team for the Apollo 12 mission, and was on the console when Conrad and Bean were out on the lunar surface. It was there that Pete Conrad became one of Bud’s biggest heroes – he was extremely impressed with Conrad’s ability to remain cool under pressure, and held him to be the “best of the best.” During the Apollo 13 mission, Bud said the explosion made the jobs of the flight controllers extremely important, and he was proud to be a part of the team that brought our astronauts safely home. Bud was among those team members who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he received numerous achievement and meritorious service awards during his assignment with NASA. During the Apollo 14 mission, Bud solved a problem with the radar not locking onto the lunar surface as it should have. Bud’s time with the space program further strengthened the exceptional work ethic he developed in Catholic school, and caused him to develop high expectations of those around him. Despite loving the space program, after Apollo 14, Bud knew it would be months and months before the next mission, so he decided to go to grad school.
Bud and Cheryl had three children while stationed in Texas – Dawn in 1967, James in 1968, and Joseph in 1969. They lived in Houston until they moved their family of five to Cerritos, California, in May 1971. Bud attended graduate school at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he earned his Master’s in Business Administration. After grad school he was assigned to the Air Force Satellite Control Facility. Bud and Cheryl’s fourth child, John Gabriel, was born in Long Beach in 1975. Although the assignment in Los Angeles was not as exciting as the one at NASA, the years the family spent in California were some of their best memories. Bud and Cheryl took the kids camping, they visited all of the major sites between San Diego to San Francisco, and they visited with Bud’s parents in San Jose frequently.
In 1977 Bud took an assignment with the Air Staff at the Pentagon, and the family moved to Springfield, Virginia. In 1978, Bud went into the Air Force Reserves and took a civil service job with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He stayed at DARPA for almost 24 years, finishing up as the Director of the Office of Administration and Small Business. While at DARPA, Bud earned his doctorate in Public Administration through the University of Southern California’s satellite campus in Washington, DC. In August of 2002, Bud retired from civil service and took a position as an independent contractor with the Counter-Intelligence Field Activity, and later worked for the Defense Security Service.
During “full” retirement, he was vice president of his home owners’ association, a member of the Citizens Advisory Council, was a member of the neighborhood watch, was a trained member of the Citizen’s Emergency Response Team, and volunteered many hours at the United Services Organization (USO) lounge for military members with his wife Cheryl at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. Bud enjoyed spending time with family, camping, fishing, playing cards, and hanging out with his friends at McDonald’s on Saturday mornings. He loved to travel, and thoroughly enjoyed family trips to the Mediterranean, Alaska, Cape May, Chincoteague, and Tampa Bay. He was physically active all his life, sticking to the regimented routine of physical fitness he learned in the military. He shared his love for astronomy and space exploration with his four children and his grandchildren. Bud was an avid reader, and huge fan of science fiction, mysteries, and non-fiction. He authored two spy thrillers of his own: Traces of Mammon, published by 2012, and Ask Any Aardvark, published in 2013. He was a devoted husband, father of four, grandfather of seven, great-grandfather of one, son, brother, and friend. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by all those he has left behind.
The family will receive visitors Thursday, December 27, 2018 from 5-8 p.m. at Miller Funeral Home, 3200 Golansky Blvd., Woodbridge, VA 22192.