James Hurst passed away on Oct. 24. 2013, at Liberty Commons in Jacksonville.
He was born on a farm in Onslow County near Onslow Beach which is now the present site of the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune. He is preceded in death by his mother, Kate Brown Hurst and his father, Andrew J. Hurst and brother, Basil B. Hurst and sister, Kathryn Bender. He is survived by his niece and three nephews.
After attending North Carolina State College and serving in the U.S. Army during WWII, he studied singing and acting at the renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York. After three years he abandoned his musical ambitions. Upon return to the States in 1951, he began a 34 year career in the international department of a large New York City Bank.
During his early years at the bank, he wrote a play and short stories, some of which were published in literary magazines. "The Scarlet Ibis" first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in July, 1960 issue and won the "Atlantic First" award that year. It was quickly recognized by literary critics, and the story appears in collections and virtually every high school literature textbooks published in the U.S. When asked about the meaning of the story, Hurst answered: "I hesitate to respond, since authors seldom understand what they write. That is why we have critics. I venture to say, however, that is comments on the tenacity and the splendor of the human spirit." A key passage form the story is the following sentence: I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible, thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death.
Arrangements were made by Jones Funeral Home.