WEST ALEXANDRIA — Former West Alexandria Mayor James (J.O.) Hurst turned 100 years old on Tuesday, Jan. 3. His birthday was celebrated with an open house at St. John Church on Sunday, Jan. 8. There, the community gathered to honor a man who has dedicated his life to serving others.
Hurst was born in 1917 in Huntington, West Virginia. His family relocated to Dayton when he was still young. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1935.
It was six years later that he married his wife Lucy Edna Morgan. To this day, they have been married for 73 years. They have two children together, Karen Mays and Phil Hurst.
In 1942, only a year after he married, Hurst enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was later assigned to Randolph Field, San Antonio; Burbank, California; and John Rogers Air Field in Honolulu.
He served as an air craft mechanic, crew chief, propeller technician, and constellation specialist. In 1946, he was honorably discharged at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
The Hursts moved to West Alexandria in 1948 and he worked as a foreman at Delco Products, retiring in 1974. He chose to be active in the community in which he lived, serving as mayor of the village from 1964-1966 and from 1984-1988. He has served as a member of the village council, Executive Finance Officer of the Southwest Ohio Village Mayor Association, founding member of WACOCA, and on the PCCAC.
He served as president of the Twin Valley PTO, was a member of the library committee, and helped start the Oktoberfest. He was a recreational ball coach and umpire for years and was even an assistant leader in Boy Scout Troop 107.
He was active in several organizations, including the West Alexandria Kiwanis, Masonic Lodge (32), York Rite, Scottish Rite, and the Antioch Shrine.
In 1968, Hurst was nominated as an outstanding civic leader.
In addition to all the ways he has served the community, he also served the St. John Church community for over 60 years. He served as an elder, deacon, Sunday School Superintendent, teacher, synod delegate, and as a choir member.
He was a national member of the American Legion for many years and even recently joined local Post 322.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH