George Leslie Hurlburt succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease on May 11, 2022, at the age of 84, even as he affirmed each day what a lucky guy he was. Indeed, George got to travel the world, have four beautiful children and several grands, and marry the one he wanted to spend his mature years with.
George was born in Michigan on December 22, 1937, but the family soon left by train for California, and he was never to return to snow country. He grew up in southern California, married and had children. He also served in the US Army National Guard and in the US Air Force. But when divorce came and separated his family, he moved to the Caribbean, learned to dive, and began his career in underwater construction and demolition.
He spent thirteen years in the waters around the US Virgin Islands, sometimes with his boys in a shack on Virgin Gorda, then living on and rebuilding an ex-British racing yacht. While he built seawalls and marinas, the boys learned to sail, dive, and explore wrecks. One memory shared of that time is of Dad telling stories about the stars and of getting scared by black holes that could swallow the planet. Another fond memory is of ending an exciting day with everyone relaxing on deck with mochas.
Working for Raymond, Brown and Root as a diver sent George to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. From there he visited China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Palau, Phuket and Australia. When son Scott was stationed in Germany, George flew him to Nairobi, where the two went on photo safari through Kenya.
Later, on a car trip through northern California on the way to Oregon to visit old sailing buddies, George became enamored with Humboldt County and all the waterfowl he saw in the wetlands. He vowed he’d live here some day. He bought properties and eventually did end up here after retiring from diving. He built houses, cut firewood, and one day met a woman looking for pasture for her horse, which he happened to have. They became close friends, later sweethearts, then he and Ruth were married in 1997. He asked her what kind of architecture she liked, and they set about building their craftsman/timber-frame home in Carlotta, using timber and lumber they milled themselves.
George loved all people and all animals. He always spoke to strangers and waved at dogs in cars. He loved Ruth’s horses, though he didn’t ride himself.
A son shared life lessons he learned from his dad: Find your niche and be the best at it that you can, don’t limit yourself, pursue knowledge, work hard and play hard, take care of friends and family, mind your health.
Only daughter Kerry echoes these sentiments, recalling that special father-daughter relationship and the influence the first man in her life has on his girl.
Granddaughter Jennifer recalls: His stories had you at the edge of your seat and always ended with a laugh. The noise of a chain saw, the crack of a redwood before it drops, and the booming sound of Grandpas voice will remain in my memory forever. Grandpa’s house is where I learned to climb, get truly dirty, explore, and hit a nail with a hammer. It’s the place my cousin became my brother and my sister my best friend. I was so lucky to have him for a grandpa and I will cherish the memories.
Granddaughter Brianna remembers: My Grandpa George was larger than life! When people say live life to the fullest, they’re talking about how my Grandpa lived. So full of adventure and a serious thirst for learning through real life experiences! Man, the stories he had to tell! He always taught us everything he could…he even taught me to parallel park.
A grandson remembers his Grampa this way: long hair, big hands, deep voice, big smile. He drove a little MG and a big dump truck. Grampa wearing driving gloves and hat, they’d make trips up and down Kneeland Road to and from school, sharing laughs and conversation. Grampa taught him to work hard, be tough, use his mind, appreciate art and jazz, read road signs, shoot a gun, run a chainsaw, make a fire, cook, and look up at the stars!
George is survived by his wife of twenty-four years, Ruth Hoke, who nurtures a vision of him on his sailboat with his black lab Diver; by his four children Kerry Berg of North Carolina, twins Philip and Paul Hurlburt of Texas and California, and Scott Hulburt of California; by his grandchildren Alexander Hurlburt, Nicholas Eanni, Jennifer Morales, Brianna Ory, and Marleah and Garrett Hurlburt, as well as several great-grandchildren.
He is loved and missed by all.
The obituary above was submitted by George Hurlburt’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email email@example.com.