Mayors made history with Hurley proclamation
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Perhaps no other person has touched more lives in Salisbury than the late James F. Hurley III.
From YMCAs to a park to a foundation that has given away millions of dollars, the philanthropist and former publisher of the Salisbury Post had a hand in nearly every major humanitarian effort in the city’s recent past.
Hurley died April 2 at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer.
A few weeks earlier, on March 12, all six living mayors of Salisbury signed a proclamation thanking Hurley for “unparalleled contributions” that have shaped and redefined the city.
The historic document marked the first time more than one mayor signed a city proclamation, former Mayor Susan Kluttz said.
Hurley deserves the precedent, she said at the time of the signing.
“We wanted to make sure that he knows we understood how much he’s meant to the city in so many different ways,” said Kluttz, current mayor pro tem. “It’s even hard to put into words.”
From Paul Bernhardt to Paul Woodson, every living mayor of Salisbury met March 12 at City Hall to talk about what Hurley and his family have done for Salisbury.
It would be their last gathering. Bernhardt died on April 5, just three days after Hurley.
Representing city leadership from 1967 to today, they wrote the tribute with help from city staff.
Kluttz and former Mayor Margaret Kluttz delivered the proclamation to Hurley and his wife, Gerry, at the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice in Winston-Salem.
Susan Kluttz read the document aloud to Hurley, who she said was alert and moved by the surprise.
The proclamation calls Hurley a hero to education, humble steward of resources and an outstanding champion for the Salisbury community.
Hurley and his family’s history are “indelibly linked with the history of the city through their service as business leaders and humanitarians,” the proclamation reads.
“I don’t think we can honor the man enough,” said Woodson, current mayor.
Every mayor who signed the tribute witnessed Hurley’s generosity during his or her tenure, Woodson said. Signatures also included those of former mayors Bill Stanback and Sonny Allen Jr.
“Each one of us as mayor had experienced the impact he and his family had on Salisbury,” Susan Kluttz said.
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