Mary Stein Hurst, 69, of Winter Haven, Florida passed away November 19, 2021 at Good Shepherd Hospice in Auburndale, Florida.
She was born on February 16, 1952 in Madison, Wisconsin to Allen and Agnes (Moroney) Stein.
Mary is survived by sons Matthew (Amy) Hurst of Bryceville, FL, Paul Hurst of Jacksonville, FL and Brendan Hurst of Jacksonville, FL, as well as her beloved companion, Paul M. Crate of Winter Haven. She was preceded in death by her parents. Funeral services were held on December 11, 2021 at All Angels’ Church, 3404 Wingmann Road, Avon Park, FL with the service provided by Father Bill Yates.
She attended Lapham Elementary School in Madison, Wisconsin, graduated from Madison East High School in Madison in 1970 and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a BA in Journalism in 1974. A career journalist, she worked primarily in Florida.
Friends from her youth remember Mary as an excellent student. In addition to academic activities, Mary was a member of several high school clubs, including the National Honor Society. Most significantly, she worked on the East High School newspaper, the Tower Times, serving as Editor in Chief in 1970, her senior year. In addition to her school life, Mary also worked throughout high school as a cashier for Eagle Foods.
One of Mary’s goals for the Tower Times, while not necessarily one of the goals of the EHS newspaper advisor, Miss Eulalie Beffell, was to expand the topics covered beyond the school’s walls, in order to make the content more relevant to her classmates. Fellow Tower Times editors and reporters fondly recall dramatic situations where publication deadlines went down to the wire because articles which had been edited and laid out ready for publication, suddenly had to be pulled because they were deemed unacceptable by faculty and staff.
Mary attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison during the tumultuous 70s, which were known for student protests against the Vietnam War. There, she not only excelled as a student but also participated in much of what campus life had to offer. This meant not only pledging the Nu Chapter of the Chi Omega sorority, but also working on a very famous campus newspaper, The Daily Cardinal, which heavily supported the anti-war activities of the student protesters.
These experiences no doubt led to her ongoing success in the newspaper business. In her final professional position, Mary worked as a reporter for The Ledger Media Group, in Winter Haven, Florida. Misty Rogers, Mary’s co-worker and News Chief recalls that Mary helped her to learn many things, including some delicious recipes, as well as to “not to take everything so seriously and not to be afraid to standup for myself,” because, as Misty reports on Mary’s Facebook page, if she didn’t stand up for herself, Mary claimed that she would “threaten anyone who bothered her with her shillelagh.”
Rest in peace, Mary Stein Hurst. You were one of a kind and all of us who were lucky enough to have known you are better for it.