Hurst, John A.

John A. Hurst U.S. Navy WWII
John A. Hurst U.S. Navy WWII

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Date of Birth: 9/7/1924
Died On: 10/16/1993 Last Residence: 30080 Smyrna, Cobb, Georgia
Street Address: 325 Forest Avenue
Service Number: unknown
Branch of Service: U.S. Navy-WWII

Veteran Code: USN-115

John A. "Jack" Hurst

John Arthur Hurst was born on September 7, 1924, in Jacksonville, Florida, to Dorothea Beatrice Barker, age 31, and George Arthur Hurst, age 32. He had one brother Norman and in Rye his family lived at 325 Forest Avenue. Jack was a Rye High School Graduate, Class of 1942.

After graduating from high school in 1942 enlisted 14 Nov 1942 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Upon his discharge, he entered Ithaca College, earned degrees in physical education and commercial broadcasting. A part of his degree's requirement was that he spend eight weeks as a student teacher at Rye High School.

For 32 years, the voice of Jack Hurst graced the airwaves of Georgia radio and is best remembered for his signature signoff, "Keep Your Eye on the Ball".

In 1950, Hurst landed his first radio job at WKBS in Oyster Bay, Long Island. After stops in Huntington, West Virginia, and Portsmouth, Ohio, where he was sports director and called 18 football games and 70 basketball games every season. Next, Hurst became the news and sports director at WLEE in Richmond and play by play announcer for VMI football. He also contributed regularly to NBC radio’s legendary weekend news magazine, Monitor.

Jack married Elizabeth 'Betty' Louise Nelson on July 6, 1952, when he was 27 years old. They would have three children during their marriage.

In 1959, Jack came to Atlanta as play-by-play announcer for Georgia Tech football and news director at WGST. For the next five years, he shared the booth with 2009 GRHoF Legacy inductee Al Ciraldo. In 1966 with the arrival of the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons franchises, Jack was selected to become the first Voice of the Falcons, joining WQXI radio. For 10 years, he called every Falcon game working with color sidekicks Bud Erickson, Alex Hawkins, Jimmy Orr and Billy Lothridge.

After the Falcons tenure at WQXI ended in 1975, Hurst moved to WFOM radio in Smyrna. As sports director, he called local high school football and basketball games. In 1983, Marietta's WYNX hired Hurst to be sports director and continued calling Cobb County high school football and basketball games until his retirement in 1991.

John A. "Jack" Hurst , 69, died October 16, 1993 of heart failure Saturday at Austell Health Care Center. He was the announcer for Georgia Tech football from 1959 through 1965, and was the voice of the Atlanta Falcons from 1966 through 1975.

At the time of his death he was survived by his wife, Jody Purtee Hurst; a son, John B. Hurst of Tucker; two daughters, Jill Jones of Powder Springs and Janet H. Welch of Smyrna; and seven grandchildren.

The funeral was held at Carmichael Funeral Home, with burial at Marietta National Cemetery.


Rye High School Graduate, class of 1942

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