GLASGOW — A lifelong resident of Valley County, Robert William Hurly, died of natural causes suddenly Sunday morning, March 4, 2012, in the hospital where he was born on Sept. 14, 1922.
He was the son of Judge. John T. Hurly and Jeanette Jamma Hurly. He was raised in Glasgow, became an Eagle Scout, and left only to attend the University of Montana. His professors there fueled his interest in Geology, but World War II interrupted his studies. He served in the newly developed Army Air Corps, training as a navigator. He married his high school sweetheart, Marie Forsyth in Brownsville, Texas during the war. They made their first home in an 8x10 trailer at Muroc Air Station, Calif. After the war, they returned to Montana where he worked nights in the saw mills of Missoula, while attending law school full time during the day. He graduated with honors in 1948. He and Marie sold the home they built on Rattlesnake Creek in Missoula and returned to Glasgow. They built three other homes in Glasgow, and he served two terms as County Attorney. They had two daughters, Candace and Irene, and twin sons who preceded him in death. Robert and Marie divorced.
In 1964, Robert and Dorothy Allison were married in Great Falls. They added two sons to the family, Robert Jr. and Dirk Walter Hurly. They were happily married for over 40 years, and celebrated their wedding anniversary every month of their marriage. They traveled extensively, enjoying vacations in Morocco, Hawaii, and Jamaica. They delighted in their summer home on Whitefish Lake, where they hosted yearly gatherings of the extended Hurly family each July. They gardened in both Glasgow and Whitefish, winning many awards.
He devoted his long life to Valley County residents and issues, both in his legal career and his writings. He was a prolific writer, with a long list of correspondents. His letters were regularly featured in newspapers throughout Montana, and he wrote a column in local newspapers. He connected deeply with people, sharing a strong sense of humor, and a lively curiosity. He dryly commented that he "only practiced law for the first two years, after that I knew what I was doing." He worked faithfully for his clients up to the day before his death, 64 years in total. For over 30 years Debbie Dulaney, who was like a daughter to him, provided invaluable skill and assistance.
He loved northeastern Montana from his childhood on. He was an expert on the geology of the area, and developed Brazil Creek Bentonite mining. He kept copious records of weather trends, invasive plant species, and wildlife changes. He hunted in the area, knew where entire dinosaur skeletons could be found, fished the rivers, took his family for regular picnics, built his home of stones dug from its hillsides, and continually photographed the place he loved. He enjoyed entering his photographs, canned pickles, flowers, fruits and vegetables in the Valley County Fair.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his sisters Marjorie Hurly Elfers and Jean Hurly White; his brother Dr. John Hurly; his wife Dorothy Hurly; his sons, Douglas and Robert Jr.; and grandchild Bill Krewer.
Left to mourn him are his children Candace (Henry) Krewer of Tampa, Irene (Bill) Jones of Whitefish, his son Dirk Hurly and fiancé Denae Hanson of Kalispell; his grandchildren Alyssa and Kerstin Jones of Missoula, Hilary Jones of Seattle, Kathleen Krewer of Tampa, Christopher Krewer of Oakland, Calif., and Lt. J.G. Sebastian (Bud) Krewer serving in Tokyo, Tana, Steven and Robert Hurly of Kalispell and his great-grandchild Emma Marie Sasko (Kathleen Krewer) of Tampa. He will be missed by his younger sister Mary Jo Hurly Fox of Kalispell as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Against his wishes, a funeral will be held at the Glasgow Elks Club, Friday, March 9, at 3 p.m. with light reception to follow. In accordance with his wishes, the family wants to remember and celebrate all the good memories of our time with him. The family would love to hear your stories about their extraordinary father, grandfather, brother and uncle.
The family is thankful for the many community members who enriched Dad's last years. Taking special care of him were Debbie and Mark Dulaney, Diane and John Peterson, Dr. Iman, and Jim and Nancy Carney.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests you affectionately make today a special memory for the people in your own life. As Robert often reminded his own family, "It's later than you think."