Geraldine Beatrice Hurt, 102, `mother' to athletes on Morgan State campus

January 04, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Geraldine Beatrice Hurt, who was known as Mom Hurt during her 60 years on the Morgan State University campus and was a friend to the many athletes her husband coached, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 28 at her Northeast Baltimore home. She was 102.

Her husband, Edward Paulette Hurt, a mathematics instructor on the Morgan faculty from 1929 to 1970, was the school's award-winning football, basketball, and track and field coach. He died in 1989, and Morgan's gymnasium is named in his honor.

"She was a mother to thousands of Morgan Bears, and I was one of her chosen ones," said Joshua Culbreath, who graduated from Morgan in 1955 and went on to win a bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956.

"She encouraged so many of us in everything we did. She was truly a charismatic individual, a mother away from home to us. She would invite us into her home. She was a revered figure among the athletes coached by her husband."

Born in Newport News, Va., Geraldine Beatrice Reid was raised in East Orange, N.J. She received a certificate to teach home economics from Cheyney Academy and Normal School in Cheyney, Pa., in 1921.

That year, she accepted a teaching post at Virginia Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Va., where she met her future husband, who taught mathematics and coached football there. They married in 1922.

In 1929, they were among the first faculty members to move to Morgan's Northeast Baltimore campus. For many years, they lived on the school's grounds in a home that was later replaced by a dormitory.

Mrs. Hurt earned an education degree from Morgan in 1931. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. for 73 years and was its undergraduate adviser on Morgan's campus from 1931 to 1939. She was later elected to the sorority's Chicago-based national board.

"She was an adored figure in our sorority," said Idell Pugh, a fellow sorority member, who lives in Towson. "You could talk to her and gain good advice. She knew how to direct young women but was never dictatorial."

"She was a person who could endear herself to young people," said Melville Pugh of Towson, a friend and member of the Morgan Class of 1944. "She helped you develop a vision of yourself."

Friends said Mrs. Hurt often attended daily practices and told her husband which players worked hard and which ones were loafers. "She could get away with it because she stood on the sidelines for all the sports," Mr. Culbreath said. "You looked forward to seeing her at the games."

Her husband's teams produced eight NCAA champions in track and field, and he coached 14 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship football teams.

Before each football game, Mrs. Hurt gave the captain a prayer that was said by the team.

"She was a spiritual woman who never had a bad thing to say about anyone," said Wilhelmina R. Cragway of Northeast Baltimore, a niece with whom Mrs. Hurt lived.

During World War II, Mrs. Hurt wrote 50 to 100 letters a week to former Morgan students serving in the military, keeping them informed of school news.

Mrs. Hurt was a former grand marshal of Morgan's homecoming. She was also a member of Friendship Baptist Church.

Services will be held at noon tomorrow at the Morgan Christian Center on the campus of Morgan State University. An AKA sorority service at 11:30 a.m. will precede the funeral.

In addition to her niece, Mrs. Hurt is survived by another niece, Gloria Moore of Jamaica, N.Y.; a nephew, Edward A. Reid of Atlanta; five grandnephews; and two grandnieces.

Sun staff writer Mike Adams contributed to this article.

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