Jimmy was a good friend, mentor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012

By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post
At the paper, it was a known fact that Jimmy had favorites. I was lucky. I was one of his favorites.
It could have been because my Uncle Mack McKa worked there. It could be because, like Uncle Mack, I wrote about the “95 percenters,” the “little people” who usually didn’t make the news. Whatever the reason, Jimmy and I became friends right off.
I covered China Grove in the early 1990s. I found myself one Farmer’s Day in the dunking booth. Jimmy and Gerry came down to watch the fun. Jimmy bought three softballs. (Jimmy had played Legion ball, I remembered). I went into the water three times. When I surfaced that last time, I jumped out and hugged Jimmy, soaking his blue oxford shirt.
As it was the hottest day of the year, he didn’t seem to mind.
I remained friends with Jimmy after we both left the paper. I returned to work there full-time in 2002. By then, Jimmy and Gordon were across the street in their Holmes Investment offices. This was about the time my marriage was breaking up, and I was living in a house I could no longer afford. It was a known fact that you didn’t go to Jimmy with a problem unless you had a solution. This was one time I did not have a solution.
Still, I went to see Jimmy. I talked, he listened. He provided a solution. I was able to buy the house outright, then sell it and eventually buy something that was just perfect for my son and me. We still live there today.
Over the years, Jimmy has done lots of other things for me. I never made any kind of move without first consulting him. There are few people who are so generous with their time and money and their wise counsel. Somewhere, I still have the handwritten birthday cards he sent me when we worked together at the paper. I cried when the Post was sold. Up til that point, I knew Jimmy would always give me a job. The job was probably the least of all he gave me. I cried when I heard that Jimmy had died, although I rejoice that is suffering is over.
I am where I am today and I am WHO I am today because of Jimmy Hurley.
John Rink was always fond of saying that two great men walked the earth: Jesus Christ and James F. Hurley. He was referring to Jimmy’s daddy.
Right now, I just can’t help but think the saying applies to the son, too.
Godspeed, Jimmy. I love you.
Susan Shinn is communications assistant at St. John’s Lutheran Church.