Dr. David William Hurst died peacefully after achieving his lifelong goal of living beyond his 90th birthday.
Predeceased by his parents Helen Miller and Richard Rankin Hurst, his beautiful wife Janet (Davidson) in 1991, and his brother Richard and his twin sisters Muriel and Marjorie. Survived by his beloved BarBar (Barb Kooy of Colorado). Cherished and revered by his four daughters: Nancy Savage (Mike Savage), Carolyn Hurst (Grant Westcott), Laura Roome (Tim Roome) and Valerie McMurtry (Armando Mano). Adored by his eight grandchildren: Kate Carolan (Josh) and Ian Stephenson, David, Thomas and Matthew McMurtry, Jeffrey and Christopher Roome, and Charlotte Westcott. Delighted by the recent arrival of his first great-grandchild, Louise Carolan.
Born in Charlottetown in 1931, a much-loved child of the Great Depression, he made his way west to “Upper Canada” to attend Queen’s University and graduated Meds ’56. He completed three years of post-graduate surgery training in Kingston, and then received a fellowship to study abroad for three additional years in Liverpool and London, U.K. He completed his surgical training at Montreal General Hospital and was admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons (Canada) in 1963. He became a fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1977, and later in his career served a five-year term as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons.
Dad served as a consulting general surgeon a Port Colborne General Hospital and Welland General Hospital for more than 35 years. Even after his “retirement,” he continued to assist in surgeries and be available “on call” into his 87th year.
A true Renaissance man, Dad had a full and interesting life outside of his work in medicine. He learned to play the piano as a child and carried his love of music throughout his life. He was the life of the party, leading impromptu piano singalongs and Christmas Eve celebrations. As the devoted son of a Presbyterian, Temperance League mother, he never discovered wine until he was in his 30s. And then never more than a glass. “Everything in moderation ... including moderation.”
He learned to ski in Europe in his 30s and took it up with a passion: Canadian Rockies heli-skiing, European summits, and later Colorado with his beloved BarBar. He loved reading WWII historical non-fiction, playing and watching golf, playing and listening to jazz. He led a successful jazz series for many years at the Roselawn Theatre.
He was a community activist and fought to save trees in his hometowns of Fonthill and later Port Colborne. He was ahead of his time by bringing laparoscopic surgery and solar roof panels to Niagara. He loved a good party and hosted many. His most favourites were for the Welland Hospital O/R nurses and the epic annual laser regattas on Camelot Beach.
He learned to fly in his 50s, earned his IFR rating and had flying adventures all over North America. He was invited to sit on the Civil Aviation Tribunal of Canada and Aviation Licence Tribunal of Ontario. He was Team Doctor for the Welland Jr. Hockey team and travelled with the team to Russia and Yugoslavia in the early 1980s.
Undaunted by the task of raising four daughters, he proceeded to raise them like the sons he never had. Always a man of his word, he delivered on his promise to provide for each the following: straightened teeth, a good pair of skis and the ability to use them, a university degree (undergrad only), and one wedding each. Not a penny more... OK, except maybe for his baby, Valerie, who wisely chose his alma mater, Queen’s.
The things he loved the most helped him through the past two years of tough times. The Toronto Maple Leafs (he held on as long as he could!), Canada Dry Ginger Ale, The Globe and Mail, BarBar and his adoring daughters. A heartfelt thanks goes to so many people who helped dad through these last days, his many, many friends and colleagues, and especially the kind and caring staff at Lookout Ridge.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.
– Robert Frost
A private graveside service took place on Friday, June 25. Share condolences online. Donations in lieu of flowers are welcome at Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, or a charity of your choice.