Ida Mae Hurt, who graced the lives of her family and friends for nearly 99.5 years, passed away on December 16th, 2022, in the room she loved and with her beloved cat, Monroe, nearby. Ida was a delightful person who cared deeply for her family and community, knew joy in living and longed for peace on Earth for all.
Born on June 28th, 1923 in Canonsburg, PA, Ida was a happy, active child who taught herself to read before entering 1st grade and loved school.
When Ida was 19 and sister, Lois, was 15 the family moved to California. A family friend, Earle, helped the family move. Soon thereafter, Ida married Earle. They had 2 daughters, Janey and Nancy. Earle died in a racecar accident in 1948.
During WWII, Ida and her dad got jobs at Lockheed. Later she worked a clerical job at the Health Department, until, following her passion for education, she found her way to college. She earned a bachelor’s degree, a teaching credential and, eventually, a master’s degree in early childhood education. She taught elementary school for over 30 years. She spent the last 12 years teaching kindergarten. In her own words, “I found it perfect for my talents and personality” and “I taught kindergarten joyfully, with much singing, dancing and creative dramatics.”
Ida found the humanitarian ideology, social activism and all-inclusive spiritual and religious values of the Unitarian church, resonated with her values and beliefs. She joined the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society, aka “The Onion” and was an active member for many years. She led the religious education program and traveled with the choir, “The Onionaires”, to Japan, where they performed in Buddhist temples and other places. She once wrote, “I found singing with the Onionaires to be one of the most joyful events of my life.”
Ida was a fun and energetic grandma who spent countless days with her granddaughters, taking them on outings all around the LA area to plays, museums, fairs and most notably, amusement parks, where she loved the rides too, especially roller coasters.
Ida married Chuck Hurt in 1986. The two retired around the same time and traveled the country in their Dolphin motor home. Ready for a change, they moved to Eugene, Oregon for several years until his death in 2002.
Ida returned to her old San Fernando Valley stomping grounds and reconnected with her UU church. She facilitated the Onion’s Conscious Aging program. She also met Ron Main, who was understandably “smitten” with Ida and became her devoted companion for several years.
Fulfilling her wish to live someday near the ocean and closer to family, Ida moved to Santa Barbara in 2017. It was now her turn to be taken on fun outings and there were many: lunches on State St., Solstice parades, picnics at Alice Keck Park and even a beach wheelchair ride. Always up for an adventure and time with family, she would often exclaim, “This is the nicest thing that could have happened to me today!”
Ida loved playing games, discussing politics, and singing along. She loved cats, music, and the words “Joy” and “Grace.” She was quick to laugh at silly jokes and to make witty remarks. When addressed as “Ida Mae Hurt” she would often reply, “then again she may not!” She wrote delightfully descriptive letters and emails recounting her life experiences. She was honest and sincere in expressing her likes and dislikes. Above all, she deeply appreciated and valued the people in her life and took every opportunity to say “thank you”.
Ida was preceded in death by her sister, Lois Rizkowsky, in August 2022.
She is survived by her daughters, Janey (Walt) Hillemann and Nancy (Christine Roux) Sierra; granddaughters Erica (Tom) Victor-Fefer, Desiree (Jason) Valdry and Coralie (Chris) Wick; great-grandchildren Mya Alexander, Ava Alexander, Gavin Victor, Amber Wick and Nathan Wick; and great-great granddaughter, Naiomi Joy Alexander.
She is also survived by stepdaughter Nancy (Benny) Canady and stepson, John (Kristiane) Hurt: nieces Candy Rizkowsky, Judy Cooper and nephew, Larry Rizkowsky along with many cousins and treasured friends.
Last, but not least, she is survived by her beautiful cat, Monroe.
Ida’s family wishes to thank Chile, Fred, Richard and Sue at the Tree of Life for their devoted care of Ida and to Nadia and Wendy at Villa Santa Barbara for their care and friendship.
A celebration of life will be held in June 2023, near the time of her 100th birthday. For information please email: [email protected].
Donations in memory of Ida may be made to: ASAP Cats (https://asapcats.org/) or Unitarian Universalist Association (www.uua.org).