Dr. William H. Hurdle, Sr., 87, of Macon, died Saturday, January 24, 2015, at his residence. Memorial services were held Saturday, January 31, 2015, at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wesleyan Disciples Program of Wesleyan College or Mulberry Street United Methodist Church.
William Hubert Hurdle was born May 24, 1927, in Montezuma, Macon County, Georgia, the first child of William Henderson Hurdle and Cordelia Persall Hurdle. He was educated in the public schools of Montezuma, Thomasville and Macon, graduating from Montezuma High School in 1944.
He enlisted in the U. S. Navy at age 17 in July 1944 and served during World War II in the Pacific on a troop ship the USS Bottineau AP.A.235. He was a combat veteran at age 17 during the invasion of Okinawa in April and May of 1945.
In 1946, after being discharged from the Navy as a 2nd Class Petty Officer, Mr. Hurdle worked a year for Miller Electric Company in Montezuma. During this time he became engaged in the ministry and work of Montezuma Methodist Church. The awareness of God's leading towards ministry came during 1946-47 and in April, 1947 he answered the call to preach.
In 1953 while preaching at Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church he met Betty Swearingen whom he hastened to marry as quickly as possible. This happy marriage celebrated its 60th anniversary in August of 2013. To this union four of God's heavenly gifts were born: Harriet Rose, Caroline Walton, William Hubert, Jr. and John Lough.
Dr. Hurdle's further education came at Oxford College of Emory University and Emory University where he received an AB degree in Political Science 1951. He was a member and leader in Sigma Chi fraternity and sang in the Emory Glee Club. Continuing his education at Emory in Candler School of Theology he received his Master of Divinity Degree in 1954. In subsequent years Reverend Hurdle served the following appointments: Vidette, Wren-Mt. Moriah, Wrens, Ocilla, Hazlehurst, First United Methodist, Cordele, First United Methodist Church, Moultrie, Mulberry Street United Methodist, Macon, Superintendent of the Waycross District and Executive Director of the Georgia United Methodist Church Commission on Higher Education and Campus Ministry. In 1985 Lagrange College conferred on Reverend Hurdle the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. In 1991 he served an interim appointment at Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Macon.
Dr. Hurdle's service in the larger church over this 42 year period included: President of the Conference Board of Trustees, President of the South Georgia Conference Foundation, Sixteen years on the Board of Ordained Ministry (four years as associate registrar), Chair of the Conference Committee on Education, delegate to the General Conference on two occasions and delegate to the Jurisdictional Conference three times and President of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Commission on Higher Education and Campus Ministry during its brief history.
In 1998, three years after retirement, Wesleyan College asked Dr. Hurdle to serve the college as part time Chaplain and later to fill in as Vice President for Student Affairs for a few months. After this brief interlude he was asked to serve as full time Chaplain and Director of Church Relations. During his time at Wesleyan College he found a niche that he did not know God had prepared for him where he continued to serve, as the happiest man in the world. January 24, 2015 marked his 16 years and 5 months as Chaplain of Wesleyan College.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Betty Swearingen Hurdle; daughters, Harriet Wade (Steve) and Caroline Calvert (Mike); sons, William Hurdle, Jr. (Leslie) and John Hurdle; granddaughters, Tara Hobbs, Toni Weldon, Allison Dunlap, Kimberly Dixon, Kelley Calvert and Henderson Hurdle; a host of great grandchildren; brother, Tommy Hurdle (Jackie); sister, Loraine Stewart; and many extended family members.