Sunday, May 24, 2009

Grandpa Clay

Many of you know that my grandpa Clay passed away last week. We attended a beautiful funeral service for him yesterday. He was such a truly amazing man. We will miss him so dearly. I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and well wishes.

Clayton R. Hurst 1927 ~ 2009 Clayton Riley Hurst, adored husband, father, grandpa, friend, Bish, Chief, Bwana and Pres, passed away May 21, 2009. Heeding the poet's advice, he did not go all too "gently into that good night," which will not surprise any who knew him. He loved life, but after years of illness and decline, Clay is now with beloved family and friends in joyful reunion. Clayton was born June 30, 1927 in Helper, Utah, the cherished only child of Mary Matekovic and Nathan T. Hurst. The family moved to Salt Lake City and then to Reno, Nevada, when Clayton was a young boy. A child of the Depression, his family was "as poor as dirt," but thanks to his mother, he always looked snazzy. From childhood on, he was a hard worker, delivering groceries by age ten and driving a school bus when he was 14-years-old. An adventurous spirit, he learned to pilot a plane at age sixteen. Clay was blessed with a bright and inquisitive mind. He graduated from high school early and enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, much to his mother's dismay. After basic training in San Diego, he was posted as a corpsman at the naval hospital in Dublin, Georgia. Following his military service, Clay enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he met a lovely co-ed from Las Vegas, Norma Jean Carruth. In the midst of their courtship, he accepted a call to serve in the Swiss-Austrian Mission (1949-1951). During his two-and-a-half years of service, he developed a life-long love for the language, people and land. After his return, he and Norma were married in the St. George Temple on November 23, 1951. Back in Reno, Norma taught school while Clayton completed a degree in German and chemistry. The young couple moved to Houston, where Clay worked for New York Life. Work took them to New Orleans, then on to Denver and eventually to Los Angeles. They settled in La Crescenta, where they lived for the next 35 years, reared their four children and forged many enduring friendships. Clayton and Norma's home was a haven of love, learning, much laughter, great food and lively conversation. Any "reproving betimes with sharpness" was unfailingly followed by "an increase of love." Our childhood home, indeed anywhere our parents lived, was literally a refuge for anyone in need who might knock at the door. Home is a sacred word in our vocabulary. After several more years in the insurance business, Clay and two colleagues established the benefits consulting firm of Olanie, Hurst & Hemrich. His keen mind and gregarious nature made Clay a successful businessman and endeared him to many as mentor and friend. Clayton's greatest work, however, was that of an eternal nature: family, friendships and service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He especially loved, and had a marvelous gift for, teaching young people. His church work included serving as a bishop three times and as President of the Switzerland Zurich Mission (1983 - 1986). He is survived by his loving wife, Norma; children and spouses, Scott and Holly Hurst, Kathryn and William Smith, Barbara Hurst and Joseph Ney, and Susan and Steven Rhondeau; 16 grandchildren and 10 1/2 great-grandchildren. Dad truly experienced joy in his posterity. Other loved-ones include sisters-and-brothers-in-law, Barbara and Vern Albright and Carole and Murton Bowman and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins who were a profound and loving influence in his life. The children wish to express deep-felt thanks to the staff of Wentworth-Coventry Assisted Living (Lupita, you are an angel), and Rocky Mountain Hospice: Dr. Bretton Newman, Dina, Brandon, Mike, Alane, Josh, Tyler and the Bens. They deserve a medal, as does our Mom, Dad's number one fan and caregiver. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, May 27, at 12 p.m. at the Monument Park Ward, 1005 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City. Friends may call on Tuesday evening, May 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South, and Wednesday from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. prior to services at the church. Clay really disliked attending viewings; this time he doesn't have a choice. To ease the pain for the rest of us, Swiss chocolate will be on hand. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Missionary Fund of the LDS Church. Interment: Salt Lake City Cemetery. Online condolences may be sent to