Margaret Jones Hurst



Margaret Jones Hurst ended 95 years of a full life on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at the Carolina Rivers Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She was a mother, wife, golf champion, devoted Methodist, executive assistant, a shaper of development standards in Jacksonville, a well-known Walmart greeter and eventually, a doting grandmother.

Born in Williamston, NC, January 29, 1922, she came to Jacksonville to work for Carolina Telephone during the boom associated with the building of what is now Camp Lejeune. She was proud to have been the first to walk across a makeshift ramp to get into the telephone building. It was indicative of the rapid pace of building in Jacksonville and demonstrated her ability to adapt, prosper and excel in what became her home town.

Seven years later she would marry Clyde Farnell Hurst, who first spotted her adjusting her stockings on her way to work in downtown Jacksonville from his work inside Henderson Grocery. He was a native with whom she would later correspond while he served in the Army during World War II. Apparently when he returned from war, his interest in deepening the relationship did not match that of Margaret’s timetable and she left for Pulaski, Tennessee.

Clyde followed her there and they eventually married in Athens, Georgia where they stopped on their return to Jacksonville in July 1947. He worked at Pure Oil Company and with Bruce Downey, later opened Downey & Hurst Oil Company where he worked until his death in 1972.

During that time, Margaret had two children, taught Sunday School at Trinity United Methodist Church, helped to operate the Vacation Bible School, fed the Methodist Men, sold Methodist plates as well as a unique Methodist Chopper that was used to chop up collard greens. She was a fixture in the Women’s Society of Christian Service, which later came to be known as the United Methodist Women.
In 1962, she began work at what was the First National Bank of Eastern North Carolina. It would later become a part of Bank of America. She started as a teller, then as the Executive Assistant to the bank president, Mitchell Allen. She left the bank after his death in the late sixties.

Her passions became her children, golf, duplicate bridge and working to ensure every new neighborhood in Jacksonville had sidewalks and curbs. She was the first woman on the Jacksonville Planning Board serving from September 1973 to March 1981 and has been fondly remembered as fighting for mothers with strollers as well as children walking to school all have a place to walk safely. Jacksonville’s first professional planner Horace Mann remembers her advocacy to create standards some of which are still in place.

Her passion for golf became fodder for stories told in the clubhouse of the Jacksonville Country Club. One story relates how she and a dear friend, Francis Johnson – who was the first woman on the Jacksonville City Council – were battling for the Ladies Club Champion title in 1958. With a tight, competitive match underway between the two women, Margaret broke to the lead with a hole-in-one on the 13th hole eventually winning the match.

Dubbed a perfectionist by her oldest daughter, her work at golf was like a job. It was remembered that she would get up early, play 9 holes of golf and then wake up her children to get them to school.

She cared for her husband when he became ill, and then assumed a position at the company he founded. She worked there until it was sold in the eighties. It was not the end of her work career.

At the age of 70 she left retirement to became a Walmart Greeter. She renewed many friendships and made many more and stayed with Walmart until she was 88.
Margaret Hurst is survived by her daughter Carol H. Long and husband Frank of Jacksonville, Son Clyde F. Hurst III of Jacksonville and his former wife, Sandy Hurst of Jacksonville. Grandchildren: Katharine Long Cramp of Leesburg, Va., William F. Long and wife Maranda of Greenville, NC, Russell Bryan Hurst and wife Amy of Jacksonville. Great-Grandchildren: William Walker Cramp and Jamie Elizabeth Cramp of Leesburg, Va., Holden Grant Hurst and Emma Grace Hurst of Jacksonville, NC, a sister: Ann Jones Pappas of Gastonia, and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be held Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 11AM at Trinity United Methodist Church with visitation after the service.

In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations to Trinity United Methodist Church in her name are appreciated.