Bobby R. Hurst

by Lynn McMillen
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  F.6.15.24 Bobby Hurst.jpgCol (R) Bobby R. Hurst, known affectionately as Bob to his friends and family, passed away peacefully from natural causes on June 4, 2024, in Columbus, GA. Born on March 18, 1940, in Sheffield, AL, Bob’s journey was marked by courage, love, and an unwavering commitment in service to his country.

Bob’s early life in Sheffield laid a strong foundation for his future. A 1958 graduate of Sheffield High School, he excelled both in academics and athletics. He continued his education at Florence State College (now the University of North Alabama) where he continued to grow in leadership and discipline through his involvement in ROTC and Football. His college career was marked with a National Championship football season and, after graduation in 1963, his commission as an officer in the U.S. Army.

Col Hurst’s military career was extensive and distinguished. As an Infantry Officer, he proudly served in multiple units, including the 82nd Airborne Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment. His bravery and dedication to his country were recognized through numerous decorations and awards, among them the Silver Star, the Soldier’s Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and also the Bronze Star with the “V” device for valor in combat. His commitment to excellence was further demonstrated by his earning the Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, and Ranger Tab. Bob’s thirst for knowledge and leadership development led him to complete the Command and General Staff Course, the Air War College, and a Master’s degree from Central Michigan University, further cementing his legacy as a highly respected and intelligent officer.

After his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1992, Bob settled into his second career at E-Systems in Garland, Texas where he spent significant time in the Middle East. Soon after, Bob met the love of his life, Elizabeth “Betsy” Boniface. In November of 1995 they were married at the Stonebriar Country Club in Fresco, Texas and for the next 29 years, have resided in McKinney, Texas.

Bob had an aptitude for languages and could speak several fluently including Vietnamese and German. He also could easily pick up or excel at anything he put his mind to, which quickly earned him a place amongst his neighbors as the go to person for help and advice on any topic from cooking, politics and Alabama football to operating a heated pool. Although proud of his distinguished military career, Bob was most proud of his role as a husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed, but his memory will forever be treasured in the hearts of all that knew him. Rest in peace.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Leir Hurst and his sister, Billie McGlamery.

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Hurst; his daughter, Heather O’Shields (Matt); his step-children, Jim Bakken (Ginny) and Katherine Hill; as well as his six grandchildren, Olivia O’Shields, Hurst O’Shields, Jack Bakken, Kate Bakken, Valerie Hill and Victoria Hill.

Services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the U.S. Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund or the Wounded Warrior Project.

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