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Robert G. "Bob" Hurst

Robert G. “Bob” Hurst


Robert G. “Bob” Hurst passed away peacefully on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, in the loving arms of his family at his home on Gull Lake. He was 82 years old.

Bob was born Dec. 20, 1931, in St. Cloud, Minn., to Robert E. and Elsie M. (Decoster) Hurst. Bob’s family later moved to Carr Lake, Bemidji where he attended school, graduating in 1950. Bob had also joined the National Guard unit in Bemidji in 1949 with the 47th Viking Division.

In January 1951, Bob was called to active duty in the Army 1st Calvary Division. In October he left for Korea where he was a platoon sergeant with F Company, 5th Calvary Regiment, fighting on the front lines near the Imjin River, in an area called The Jamestown Line. Upon his honorable discharge in 1952, Bob returned home and married the love of his life, Joanne P. Jewett. Bob and Joanne would go on to have three children: Steven, Jeffrey and Linda.

Bob worked for a time at the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company as a cable splicer, and also with his father as a business manager at Bemidji Metal & Fur Company. Bob also continued his schooling at Bemidji State University earning his Bachelor’s Degree in 1961 and his Masters Degree in elementary administration in 1964.

From 1961 to 1964 Bob taught second and third grade at Nisswa Elementary School, then moved to Blackduck for two years where he started his administrative career, and later to Northfield as principal for one year.

Bob returned to Nisswa in 1968 as acting superintendent. Upon consolidation of the Brainerd School District in 1970, he continued on as elementary principal until his retirement in 1992, five of those years he also shared duties at Edison and Lincoln Schools. Bob was known as the “Toy Principal,” as his desk was covered in toys for the students to play with. Among many awards and accomplishments in education were: Minnesota Teacher of the Year, National Principals Recognition Award, Laurel M. Pennock School Desk Award, Minnesota’s State Principal State Representative, M.E.A.S.P.A Board Member, 1992 Minnesota’s National Distinguished Principal awarded in Washington D.C. In 1996 he was inducted into the Teacher Hall of Fame at Bemidji State University.

Bob was very active in his community both serving and being a member of many civic organizations: Nisswa Lions Club, Nisswa City Councilman, Nisswa American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, St. Christopher’s Church Council, Nisswa Boy and Cub Scouts and Gull Lake Drifters Snowmobile Club. In 1991 Bob was honored as Nisswa Citizen of the Year.

Among many activities he enjoyed were fishing, golfing, deer hunting with his sons and grandsons, and most especially riding his Honda Goldwing motorcycle on his annual summer ride. Bob loved living on Gull Lake where he and Joanne entertained friends and family.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Elsie Hurst, and his sister Lois Engquist. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Joanne, son Robert Steven (Judy) Hurst of Grand Rapids, Minn., son Jeffery Hurst of Pequot Lakes, daughter Linda Hurst of Breezy Point, brother John (Linda) Hurst of Blaine, sister Dorothy (John) Silva of Prescott, Wis., sister Ellen Harmer of Bemidji. Bob was also blessed with eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Nisswa with Father Mike Patullo officiating. Visitation began the hour before services at the church.

In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to Nisswa School.

Arrangements are with Nelson-Doran Funeral Home and Crematory, Brainerd.