I am sure this is but one of many, many tributes to the amazing life of Larry Hurst. But I know Larry would not take any credit for helping us in our reconciliation; he would first say it was the work of our Lord and then he would give all the credit to his wonderful wife! And all that is true, but I saw a side of Larry that many may not have seen.
He bragged about being ornery and I used to tell him he was not – at least I never saw that side of him. So what a surprise to read that attribute made it into his obituary!
The first time I heard of the Hurst family was when I was under transfer from Mobile, Alabama to the Philadelphia office of the FBI. I was a newly divorced mom of one daughter, almost 7 years old. The FBI office sent me a welcome kit to help me as I began my house hunting trip, via long distance. The kit had a package about the various counties and suburbs of Philadelphia, with a contact (usually the spouse) name and phone number to call for information about the area. There were at least 20 names on the list. I didn’t have a clue about Philadelphia nor the suburbs, so I just started at the top and called each number – no answer time and time again, until the last name on the list, Cheryl Hurst, wife of SA Larry Hurst, Camden, New Jersey. That really was the last place I was interested in, but this sweet (and I do mean sweet) woman answered the phone and was most happy to brag about her neighborhood (and her husband, and her church, and her children!).
Well, do I need to say more? Of course, I fell in love with this woman and couldn’t wait to meet her husband; I knew he would be a co-worker due to his assignment. So I chose the realtor she recommended (from her church) and there I was, looking to live near the Hurst family and maybe even attend their church! That was one of my priorities! I knew I needed to get into a good fellowship! You see, the main reason I divorced my husband was because our daughter had never been in church and it didn’t look like that was going to change. I had accepted the Lord at a young age and I knew I wanted her to do the same. I thought I had married a Christian man and that would be a priority in our lives. But alas, my husband was frustrated with organized religion and we just slipped away from other believers, a church family and finally from the Lord – thus the divorce!
So I finally walked into my new office after the move and looked up Larry. Wow, he makes such a great first impression! He wanted to learn all about me and he did mention something about being ornery! He was one of the most important people I surmised because he told me about all the work he had done to computerize the office. I had taken to computers, which were relatively new – so this was way back in the olden days! : ) He and I now had a common interest at work as well as I needed his advice as I learned to maneuver around Philadelphia and new cases.
One of the first things he did was invite me to church and then to their summer cottage prayer group. Well, maybe he came on a bit strong as I decided I best get to work and worry about socializing later! I don’t recall how long it was, but he had me in their Wednesday night prayer meeting…and unbeknownst to me, he had already told them ALL about me and they had been to praying our marriage would be reconciled! See, God had already begin to show me that way, I Corinthians 7:10-11:
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
To make a long story short, to me, Larry was not ornery, he was persistent! He was being used by the Lord to exhort me to good works and to reconcile with my husband. Ultimately, it was his wife who helped make a breakthrough. How many of you, his friends, have had a meal in their home? Perhaps in recent years, they slowed down, but when we lived near them, they were known to have someone over for dinner every Sunday after church! How Cheryl did that every week, I don’t know, but it was so amazing to be in their home and be “served!” Within a short period of time, it was with great pleasure I announced to our Cottage Prayer meeting that I was engaged – to my former husband! So being new to the area, the group began to help me plan the wedding and reception.
And the icing on the cake? What to do with our daughter while we went on our first real honeymoon? No problem! Jessica stayed with them and they had one big sleep over for her and no telling with other fun that I never learned about!
Larry and his wife became our role models! We loved that first meal in their home and then began to open our home as we saw they did! Larry loved the Bible and taught me to also read it regularly, and he showed us the value of being a part of an organized church fellowship. He also helped me at work, pointing me to the right resources and to always be a man of integrity!
Bill and I have now been married a total of nearly 38 years, with a year break in service! We have moved twice since Philadelphia and each time, we immediately found a church fellowship to become involved in. We never forget the kindness and love that ornery Larry showered on our family!
It is with great pleasure I have been able to see what wonderful adults and parents Chris and Lisa have become – even–if we have lived hundreds of miles apart, thanks to Facebook! I have enjoyed watching their families grow and I know Larry looks forward to ALL of his family, children, grandchildren and all, to one day join him as we pass from this temporary world and into eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!