George V. Hurte, a longtime resident of Signal Hill, passed away peacefully on Jan. 13, 2011, surrounded by loved ones. He was 83.
A veteran of the US Navy, he was best known by generations of cadets at the Southern California Military Academy on Cherry Avenue in Signal Hill as “Major” Hurte. He served there as teacher, principal, superintendent and headmaster for the better part of four decades.
“He will be remembered for the impact he had on many young lives, instilling ‘character before career,’” said Hurte’s son Brad, referring to the Academy’s motto. “He will be remembered as a generous man with a great sense of humor.”
Brad remembers an incident at the Academy that illustrates his father’s ability to use humor to address issues. “One day, he was approached by one of the office staff who complained about confusion in the division of responsibilities in the office and requesting resolution,” said Brad. “He quietly listened, but gave no indication of action. The next day, he handed out a new operations manual for the office entitled, ‘Quit Your Bellyaching!’ That humor defused the tension and solved the problem.”
George was born on Dec. 2, 1927, in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, the son of George William and Ida Mae Hurte. On graduating from Aliquippa High School in January of 1946, he enlisted in the US Navy, serving aboard the heavy cruiser USS Chicago in Okinawa and was honorably discharged in December of 1947.
On discharge, he joined his parents in Long Beach, where his father was working at the Long Beach Naval Shipyards. George met Marie Elizabeth White, who was then attending Polytechnic High School, at the Long Beach Christian Missionary Alliance Church in 1948 and they were married on July 8, 1949.
The couple moved to Siloam Springs, Arkansas, to attend John Brown University (JBU), where they graduated in 1951, he with a bachelors degree in theology. They then moved back to Long Beach, where Marie worked for the station manager of JBU-owned Christian radio station KGER and George taught at the JBU-owned Southern California Military Academy. In March of 1961, he was appointed superintendent. He led the Academy as superintendent and headmaster until his retirement in 1983, then the couple moved to Canyon Lake in Riverside County, where they lived until his death.
He is survived by: his wife, Marie; his twin sister, Jane Pollard; sons Ron, Brad, and Geoff, who each attended and graduated from SCMA; five grandchildren; and one great-grandson. A memorial service will take place Saturday, Jan. 29 at 2pm at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 555 N. Gartel Dr., in Walnut, and he will be interred at the Riverside National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the John Brown University Scholarship Fund, John Brown University, Attn: Susan Nece, 2000 West University, Siloam Springs, AR 72761. Gifts are tax-deductible.
Photo courtesy Hurte Family