Hurt, Mary

HURT, Mary Frances


Mary Frances Hudson Hurt, whose long and beautiful life filled the hearts of generations of family and friends, passed away at her home on June 15 at the age of 101.

Mrs. Hurt was born in 1920, in Dyer, TN, and was the daughter of the late Mark Ransom Hudson and Mary Frances Bobbitt Hudson. Mrs. Hurt's earliest years were in Jackson, TN. She was the youngest of eight children—four brothers and four sisters. She was seven years younger than her next youngest sibling, and joked that as a child, "I had someone telling me what to do every minute of the day."

When the Great Depression gripped the nation in 1929, the Hudson family moved to the nearby town of Dyer, TN, to establish a family farm. But even in a small town in rural Tennessee, she was recognized early for her beautiful singing voice and other musical talents. She was invited at age eight to sing in a ceremony commemorating the end of World War I, and thereafter, she recalled, "I sang at funerals, weddings, ceremonies, events, and anywhere they needed a vocalist."

By the time she was in her mid-teens, she was singing once a week on live broadcasts at the local radio station. Her performances led her to meet visiting celebrities of the era like Eddie Arnold. A brother who served in the Navy sent money home so that she could take piano lessons—an instrument that she continued to play well into her late 90's.

After she graduated from high school, Mrs. Hurt moved in with her next youngest sister in Jackson and enjoyed going to big band concerts throughout western Tennessee prior to World War II. She met her future husband, Harry Hurt, while a student at Union University in Jackson, and they married in 1945.

Mr. and Mrs. Hurt moved to Atlanta, GA in 1948. With the strong support of Mrs. Hurt, Harry founded successful businesses ranging from commercial warehouse/distribution centers to the St. Charles of Atlanta/Kitchen and Bath Design Company which later became Kitchens of Atlanta, one of the city's leading design/installation companies.

Beginning in those early years in Atlanta, Mrs. Hurt created in her own home a welcoming environment so that the "Hurt house" on Dale Drive, with its big front yard and den, became known as an open-door "command center" for all the neighborhood children to gather at any time.

She was active in the neighborhood Garden Club and helped establish the neighborhood Dinner Club in which parents dressed up in their Sunday best and gathered one day a week for dinner at one of their homes. Expanding on her love of children and nurturing nature, she was a regular volunteer at the state's Child Service Adoption Agency to provide hands-on nurturing care for children under the care of the Agency.

Next to her family, Mrs. Hurt's love was her church. She taught adult Sunday School for more than 40 years— at the First Baptist Church in downtown Atlanta and then at the Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Buckhead. Her husband served as a deacon and chairman of the board of deacons in both churches.

Mrs. Hurt is survived by her sons, Richard A. Hurt of Atlanta and David H. Hurt and his wife Mary Grace Hurt of Cumming; and her granddaughters, Margaret and Haley Hurt, of Cumming. Her husband Harry, passed in 1998; her eldest son, Harry Hurt, Jr., passed in 2016.