Rodger Lawrence Hurley, dearly loved husband, father and grandfather, died suddenly of a heart attack on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. He was the town supervisor of Granville.
He was born on Feb. 27, 1940, in New York City and grew up in Ramsey, N.J., and in Friendship, N.Y., where his grandparents had farmed. He was the son of John Archer Hurley and Elizabeth Hess Hurley.
Mr. Hurley graduated from Ramsey High School, where he was a varsity basketball player and where he was voted athlete of the year. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Brown University, where he also played varsity ball and was honored to have been selected as among the 10 best, in his decade, of Brown University’s players over the last hundred years. While working in Bangkok, he coached the Thai National Team to victory in the Southeast Asian regional competition. He frequently said that his one unfulfilled ambition in life was to achieve a vertical jump like Michael Jordan’s.
Mr. Hurley served in the U.S. Army as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division and the Special Forces and fought in Vietnam. After his military service, he completed his master’s degree in practical politics from Rutgers University.
In a life dedicated to service, Mr. Hurley held positions in government at several levels, working with UNESCO in Bangkok, Thailand, with the federal government as national director of projects with the National Corporation for Service, with the city of New York working for drug-addicted Vietnam veterans, and at the state level in a wide variety of positions. He ran for Congress in 1980. He was president of the Hartford Central School Board and a proud member of Granville’s Engine and Hose Volunteer Fire Company. He was the author of a well-respected book on poverty, titled “Poverty and Mental Retardation: A Causal Relationship”; the introduction to that volume was written by Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Mr. Hurley felt most fulfilled, however, in his position as town supervisor. He believed passionately in a positive future for Granville because he saw the strength of that community in its history of working together for the well-being of its citizens. Projects like the Haynes House of Hope and the Granville Partnership for Economic Development were fundamental to his perception of his community, and he was relentless in advocating for the people of this area. In a Memorial Day speech he said of his town: “The values which have always been a central part of the fabric of Granville — hard work, self-sufficiency, loving attention to children, fairness, caring for one’s neighbor, service to the community — always need attention and re-emphasis.” Those were the beliefs that inspired him every day. He wanted his life to count. And it did.
Memorial donations may be made in his name to the Haynes House of Hope, Adirondack Vets House, Granville Engine and Hose Volunteer Fire Company, the Hartford Volunteer Fire Company, or the South Granville Congregational Church.
He leaves behind his wife, who loves him deeply, Ann Wells Hollinshead Hurley; and four beloved children: two sons and their wives, Rodger Wells and Candace Hurley, Robert Daniel and Sonia Hurley, and two daughters, Elizabeth Eul Soon Hurley and Catherine Jean Hurley; three treasured grandchildren: Jaden, Gianna, and Nia Hurley, and his loved brother, Robert Francis Hurley.
A memorial service for Rodger Hurley will take place at the South Granville Congregational Church on Saturday, March 13, at 1 p.m. A reception to follow will be held at the Hartford Volunteer Fire Company Hall. Burial will be private, for family only.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Robert M. King Funeral Home in Granville.