Loris “Earl” Hurley
AUGUSTA -- Loris “Earl” Hurley, 78, passed away on September 17, 2013 at the Togus VA Medical Center after a short illness. Earl was a 50-year resident of Rumford and a beloved barber in town who was known for his good cheer.
Earl was born December 3, 1934 in Lincoln, PA. He was adopted soon after birth by Dean and Beatrice Lohr, who raised him in a loving household in Entriken, PA. He attended public schools in Huntington, PA and graduated from Huntington High School in 1953.
As a young man growing up in Pennsylvania, Earl worked on the family farm in Entriken. He excelled at sports, particularly baseball. He was a standout second baseman and played semi-professional baseball in the farm league system of the Philadelphia Phillies.
He was proud to serve his country and joined the United States Navy in 1954. The Navy recognized Earl’s attention to detail and he excelled in his coursework. He spent most of his time in service working for the National Security Administration (NSA) as a communications technician. His work included decoding foreign electronic communications and preparing intelligence reports for United States defense and central intelligence officials.
Earl’s work for the NSA sent him to locations around the world, and he spent significant time in Germany, Japan, the Philippines, the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, and finally at Fort Meade, MD. While in the Navy, Earl continued to play baseball, and also was an outstanding bowler. While stationed in Germany, Earl was a member of championship bowling teams, with an average score of 225. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in November 1963.
Earl then came to Rumford, seeking employment at the Telstar satellite station in Andover. There were fewer hires at Telstar than he had hoped, however, and instead, Earl attended Hanson’s Barber School in Lewiston on the GI Bill, graduating in February 1965. He opened his first barbershop in Rangeley, where he worked for two years.
In 1967, Earl moved operations to Rumford, opening a barbershop on Exchange Street. Earl could be counted on for a quality hair cut, no matter the weather or time of day. For many Rumford families, Earl was the barber who tended to multiple generations. Earl moved the shop to a new location on Exchange Street in 1977.
Throughout his career, Earl visited the elderly and disabled at area veterans homes and retirement communities to offer a kind word and a haircut. Earl closed the shop, but only semi-retired in 1997. He set up a barber chair at home, where for the next 16 years he continued to serve many of his long-time customers and friends, right up until August 2013.
Earl’s good nature and personality set a fine example for the many young customers who grew into men between their visits. He was scrupulously honest, hardworking, disciplined, and reliable. He was also fun-loving, warmhearted, generous. Earl was interested in others; he was caring, and above all he was loyal to friends and family. For many years Earl organized and hosted annual family reunions with his kin in western Pennsylvania complete with live country music and dancing.
The Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots have lost a dedicated fan in Earl. He loyally followed both teams’ fortunes through thick and thin for many years. Earl also enjoyed diverse hobbies. He was an avid deer hunter and loved fishing in the Rangeley lakes. He collected antique bottles that he dug from abandoned dumps in the Rumford area, and he was a student of local history and antiques.
Earl was always up for most any board game or cribbage. And, he had a taste for blackjack and the slots, and in his later years he enjoyed traveling with senior citizens groups and friends to the casinos. Earl was also proud of the many large and beautiful jigsaw puzzles that he assembled during the winter months after retirement, often choosing scenes of Maine wildlife and the New England landscape.
Earl is survived by his brother, Elwood Hurley of New Wilmington, PA; a sister, Mary Louise Slicker of Heritage, PA; nephews, Kenneth Reed of New Castle, PA, and Ellis Metzger of Pulaski, PA; other nieces and nephews, and close friends, John and Bonnie Ansbro and family.
He was predeceased by his parents and sisters, Maxine F. Williams and Fern L. Stapleton.
Earl will be deeply missed by family and many friends.
A celebration of Earl’s life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 19 at the United Methodist Church, Route 2, Rumford Center. He will later be interred in his family plot in Entriken, PA.