April 1, 2014
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. – Charles R. Hurst, a longtime Cooperative Baptist Fellowship volunteer and missions advocate, passed away Monday in Tyler, Texas. He was 80 and is survived by his wife, Betty.
Hurst, a physician and active member of First Baptist Church in Tyler, served as a missions volunteer for more than 20 years. He traveled around the world, providing medical care to those in need in partnership with CBF field personnel.
Hurst graduated from Baylor University (B.A., 1954; M.D., 1958) and served on the CBF Coordinating Council from 2000-2003.
A 2005 profile on Hurst’s trip to Macedonia in the The Baptist Standard shared his story of meeting a Roma-Albanian boy in the Balkans with a congenital heart defect and expected not to live past age 10. With the help of his church and other supporters, Hurst quickly raised $10,000 for the child to travel to Bulgaria to receive life-saving surgery.
Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, spoke of Hurst’s keen sense of the needs of others.
“Dick Hurst has been an energetic emissary for the gospel; he stopped mid-sentence in a chorus of compassion for others,” Paynter said. “He leaves behind a legacy of generous commitment never allowing his own blessings to blind him to the heartfelt needs of the voiceless. The memory of his persistence is a reminder to be of service ‘today.’ ”
Jim Smith, interim coordinator of CBF Global Missions, shared his memories of Hurst and expressed sadness at his passing.
“Dick Hurst was a larger-than-life guy,” Smith said. “He had an incredible ability to follow world events and see opportunities for missions as those events unfolded, traveling to partner with CBF field personnel when possible.
“Dick loved missions, and he loved CBF. He had a big heart for the hungry, hurting and the sick. Many have been helped to better health and education because of the generosity and commitment of Dick Hurst. We have lost a champion of faith in action.”
Former CBF Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal also shared his fond memories of Hurst.
“Dick Hurst was a remarkable Baptist layman,” Vestal said. “He was always ‘ahead of me’ in vision, boldness and passion. He loved the Gospel. He loved people, especially the marginalized and most neglected. He loved CBF, especially its missionary enterprise. We are poorer because of his passing, but Heaven is richer.”
Funeral arrangements have been announced. Visitation is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Burks Walker Tippit Funeral Home in Tyler. The graveside service is at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Cathedral in the Pines in Tyler and the memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Tyler.
CBF Global Missions is listed among the suggested memorial gift options. You may give in memory of Dick Hurst here.
CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.