|Benjamin Paul Durbin, fourth and last son of Mattie Lee Tilley and Amos Lee Durbin, was born October 26, 1903, in Winn Parish. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Bryceland, Louisiana, where he graduated from high school. He was affectionately called Pauley by his mother and her people.
During his public school career, Paul was not known for his scholarship. Rather he was known for his athletic ability and his playful antics. Once he was punished for one of his pranks by being tied in a burlap sack and hoisted in the air on a goal post. His sense of humor and wit were unappreciated by his teachers. With a broad grin and jovial voice, he proudly shared this story with his children when they asked him about “the good ole days.”
Following his graduation from Bryceland High School, Paul served a year in the United States Army and returned home to manage his father’s business.
In 1927, he married Annie Beatrice Sanders, daughter of Carrie Jane Carter and John Sewell Sanders of Arcadia. From this union came two children, Carrie Sybil and Paul Guy. At the time of his death, Paul had five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
With a desire to respond to God’s call to the ministry, Paul sought the counsel of a minister. This minister did not encourage Paul to go to college with a wife and young child and little financial support. Undaunted in his quest to follow God’s will, he went to his family’s minister and shared that he felt God calling him into the ministry. This minister rejoiced with him, put his arm around him, encouraged him to enter college, and bade him Godspeed.
In 1930, with his young family, Paul moved to Tehuacana, Texas, where he entered Westminister Junior College. He consumed his savings and worked as a janitor at the college to support his family. Paul made time to play football until he sustained a broken arm, the scars of which he proudly bore until his death. In 1947, Paul was selected “Rural Pastor of the Year” for the Texas Conference. In 1950, he graduated from Centenary College where Sybil and he were both students for a year.
During his ministry, Paul served several circuits and churches in Louisiana and Texas in the order that follows: Chatham (circuit), Athens (circuit), Downsville (circuit), Athens, Doyline, Springhill (Texas), Avinger (Texas), Heflin, Lisbon, Brownville (West Monroe), Wisner, Logansport (last pastorate before retirement), Summerfield, Hurricane, and Minden (First United Methodist Church associate pastor from 1970-1983). During his ministry, Paul Durbin probably participated in more funerals than any other minister in North Louisiana.
Paul had two earthly dreams, to build a house of his own and to write a book He lived to see both dreams come true. He built a house in Winn Parish in 1969, and wrote the book. Everlasting Good Will and Glory, published in 1963. His life was spent helping others that they, too, might experience everlasting good will and glory.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1984; p.194|