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Douglas Lee Hurley

Died: June 13, 2008

Dr. Douglas Lee Hurley, 63, died June 13, 2008, after a brief illness. Doug was born in Gainesville, Texas on September 20, 1944. On August 13, 1966, he married Marilynn McKinzie, and in 1971 they had one daughter, Jennifer Lynn Hurley.

Doug graduated as valedictorian of Gainesville (Texas) High School in 1962 and received an A.B. in English from Yale University, Davenport College, in 1966. He earned his M.D. in 1970 from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also completed his medical internship and residency. He completed an externship at Guy’s Hospital in London, England, in 1968 and was assistant resident at Johns Hopkins in 1971 and 1972. From 1972 to 1975, he was a fellow in infectious disease at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease in Bethesda, Maryland, where he specialized in fungal infections.

He joined the staff of Scott & White Clinic and Hospital in 1975, and practiced there for thirty-three years. He was director of the Division of Infectious Disease from 1981 to 1995. He was active in numerous medical associations, including the AIDS Steering Committee of the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Medical Association, the Society of Medical College Directors of Continuing Education, the Society of Hospital Epidemiologists, the American Society of Microbiology, and the Infectious Disease Society of America. His most active professional association was with the Texas Infectious Disease Society, which he served as committee chairman (1981-83), Executive Council member (1984-86), and president (1987). He conducted clinical research, publishing papers in numerous medical journals throughout his career.

The part of his career that he loved the most was teaching at Texas A&M University School of Medicine from 1977 to 2008, first as a lecturer and eventually as professor of medicine. He received the “Best Clinical Physician and Teacher in Medicine” award in 1987-88 and 2006-07.

Doug was an active patron of and participant in the cultural life of Temple, Texas. As a frequent actor with the Temple Civic Theatre, he appeared in several productions, including Stalag 17 and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In the late 1970s, he was president of the Central Texas Orchestral Society. He sang with the Temple Civic Chorus and the Second Sunday Supplement. As president of the Temple Civic Chorus, Doug participated in commissioning and singing “For All Mankind,” an oratorio in honor of the tenth anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon, performed at the Cultural Activities Center in 1979. In 1998, he sang the Mozart Requiem with the Texas Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Doug was one of the first male members of the Music Club of Temple. He endowed numerous music scholarships at Temple College, refinished the Temple Civic Theatre piano, and refurbished the 1924 Temple College Steinway. As an active supporter of the annual Rank Amateur night, Doug was one of the original cheerleaders. One of his proudest accomplishments in life was that he succeeded in getting the Temple Piano Ensemble, which he conducted for more than two decades, to watch the conductor close to a third of the time.

Doug is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Hurley, of Philadelphia. Doug’s wife Marilynn Hurley died in a car accident in 1973.

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Jennifer Hurley remembers:

My Dad was a remarkable person. He had an incredible force of personality. He lived his life with dogged integrity. All of those qualities meant that he was often prickly and difficult to get along with. But he lived a life that mattered. In the months after he died, I spent several weeks in the small town where I grew up cleaning out his house. Over the course of those months, many people came up to me — at the bank, at someone else’s funeral, in the course of my daily business — people I had known most of my life and people I had never met, to tell me a story about how he made a difference to them. Several people told me about a life-saving diagnosis he had made for them or their family members. A hospital pharmacist told me how he spent his lunchtime once a week working with the young pharmacists to help them understand drug interaction and dose issues.

It’s hard to exaggerate how much my dad loved Yale, and how much he loved going to reunions. He never missed a single reunion during his life, and I am so sorry that he won’t be there for the 50th. He loved hearing about all of the interesting things that people had done with their lives. When he came home from his 25th reunion, he told me that one of the things he loved best about it was how time had brought everyone together. At earlier reunions, some people had progressed in careers and others hadn’t, some people had families and others didn’t, etc., but by the 25th, people had found their place in the world. He treasured the chance to catch up with old friends, but he also loved his experiences at reunions talking with classmates he didn’t know well in college. Yale was probably the single most transformative experience of my dad’s life, and all of you were part of that.

Michael Dalby remembers:

Doug Hurley was one of the most endearing people I have ever known. Generous to an astonishing degree, learned beyond his protestations, a lovely soul who happened to join us in the fall of 1962.

I met Doug late freshman year. In Davenport; he became part of our posse in the Lower Court. Somehow my roommates and Doug wheedled the use of a “study room” out of Robert (Ro) Porter, the endlessly charming dean of Davenport. Study rooms were blank pits in the basement. Hold your nose and descend from the entryway. They were large enough for a few desks, with casement windows peeping onto the outside parking lot and trash from Liggett’s. But at least their desks weren’t in the bedroom upstairs or at the end of a long trek to the library. The electricity was DC, unless you had a friend, but that’s another story.

No one is more insufferable than a frantic first-year student of Chinese, but Doug put up with me, teaching me the rudiments of X-ray crystallography far from any expensive equipment.

Perhaps all but a few of us learned to smoke (and doubtless later hate it) at Yale. Doug had a cherished pipe. He regularly patronized one of those funky smoke shops near the Green so much that they named (Oh Marketing!) a blend of pipe tobacco for him — “Hurley Burley.” Second-handing the smoke in the study room, I asked him, why is this tobacco so special? Instantly Doug quoted Macbeth: “When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won.” “Well,: I replied, “that must really be you: smooth yet courageous.” I can still hear his explosive laugh.

Quietly accumulating insight into literature and science, Doug was clearly aiming to be a doc. But he was no bifurcated two-cultures guy. The sciences and arts coexisted in him. They underpinned his entire life — intense scientist questing alongside modest amateur, in the fullest sense, of literature.

Back in Texas he married his sweetheart Marilynn McKinzie. They had a daughter Jennifer, now a prominent urban designer in Philadelphia. Marilynn was killed in an automobile accident when Jennifer was two years old. Doug, later, softly: At the scene I did what I was trained to do, but it wasn’t enough.

At Scott and White Clinic in Temple, Texas, Doug built his career as an infectious disease specialist. He wrote dozens of scientific papers, some co-authored with Anthony Fauci, later the head of the Centers for Disease Control; but, as ever, he was modest about his accomplishments. His devotion to patients, including men afflicted with AIDS, was steadfast. When in 2004 I was suffering inexplicably from post-operative pericarditis, after weeks of near despair I called Doug from California. You have some diclofenac? he asked. In the medicine cabinet, look in the back. His answer, simple, effective, amazing.

I did not see him often “…’ere the set of sun.” But all who knew him loved him.