Joseph L. Hurt Jr., born Oct. 8, 1936, in Gainesville, Ga., went to be with his Heavenly Father on Dec. 30, 2012, after an extended illness. Joseph was a devoted husband and father, married to Barbara Farmer on Oct. 14, 1960, for 52 years. He was of the Baptist faith.
His father, Joseph L. Hurt Sr.; mother Lula Belle Hurt Brown; and brother, John B. Hurt, preceded him in death.
Joseph is survived by his sons, Mark J. Hurt (Shawn) of Duluth, David C. Hurt (Trina) of Lawrenceville, and Paul J. Hurt (Jennifer) of Lawrenceville; daughter, Lori Bradford (Greg) of Lawrenceville; his grandchildren, Joseph T. Hurt, USMC (Chelsea), Richland, N.C., Ashley Parker, Covington, Ga., Maddy and Brooke Bradford of Lawrenceville, Joey and Josh Hurt of Lawrenceville; and Natalie and Meredith Hurt of Lawrenceville; brother, Jack C. Hurt Sr. (Lois); sisters, Karen Chastain (David), and Rhonda Allen, all of Gainesville, Ga.; and several nieces and nephews.
When Joseph graduated Gainesville High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army
and completed a tour of duty in Japan. Afterward, he attended the University of Georgia
, graduating with a B.S. in Earth Science with a minor in Zoology. While later working for the City of Atlanta Planning Department, he would regularly visit the Georgia State Museum during his lunch hour. He was an avid taxidermist and artist, which began through a correspondence course at the age of 10. Hoping to improve the condition of the exhibits, he went to work for the State of Georgia as its Museum Curator.
He stayed several years and moved on to Fernbank Science Center as Museum Curator. He had always wanted his own museum of natural history, so after leaving Fernbank, he and Barbara started Joseph Hurt Museum of Natural History in Stone Mountain, Ga. Traveling the world, he furnished the museum with rare and unique items; their children helped and worked to achieve this. Joseph's works are in museums such as The Smithsonian Institution, Fernbank Science Center, Pascagoula, Miss., Museum, and many U.S. Fish and Wildlife museums. He and his team of children remodeled the groundwork of the Cyclorama in Atlanta, built displays for Walt Disney World of Orlando, Fla., and Tokyo, Japan, North Carolina Parks Department, Chick-fil-A, the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, animated horses and chariots for the Ben Hur Theater in Orlando, Fla., Chattanooga Nature Center, Chattanooga, Tenn., Sight and Sound Theater, Branson, Mo., and Strasburg, Pa. His last work was his own Gallery of Creation where Mr. Lion explained to Little Lamb about God's creation of the world.
Joseph loved his Lord and Savior, was a devout Christian and loved his family and friends. He will be deeply missed.
Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Memorial Park Funeral Home with interment to follow in Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, from 7-9 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, from 10 a.m. until funeral hour at the funeral home.
Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA 30504, is in charge of arrangements.
Memorial Park Funeral Home, Gainesville