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Obituary of Evelyn Hurford
HURFORD, Evelyn May (nee Turner), born September 21st, 1922, daughter of the late Laura Margaret Turner (nee Woods) and the late William Cecil Turner, passed away peacefully, on December 15th, 2018 at Trenton Memorial Hospital, Trenton, Ontario, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Her son, Ross David was at her side at the time of her passing. Evelyn is survived by her husband, George Harold Hurford, her children, Ross, and wife Monika, William Harold and Carol Evelyn, husband Ken Turner and her brother Ross Turner. She is pre-deceased by her sister Margaret Curtis, her sister Bernice Allan and her brother Edward Turner. Evelyn is lovingly remembered by her grandchildren, Katie Hurford-Taplin, Alexandra Edwards, and Nick Hurford, children of Ross and Monika Hurford, and Dayna Dickens, Jennifer McCourt, Marianne Turner, David Turner, children of Carol and Ken Turner. Her great grandchildren, Douglas and Evelyn Dickens, children of Dayna and Kenneth Dickens, Keller and Skye McCourt, children of Jennifer and Pat McCourt, Max and Charlotte, children of Katie Hurford-Taplin and Shawn Taplin, and Sienna daughter of Alexandra and Alexander Edwards all had the privilege of meeting and spending time with Evelyn.
Evelyn first met George, her husband to be, on a blind date when she was 14 years of age. She was married to George Harold Hurford, June 13, 1942 at the age of 19, and for 76 years they shared the love of an amazing marriage together.
At the age of 19 Evelyn became one of the first women welders in Canada helping with Canada’s war effort. She worked at The John Inglis Company in Toronto, Ontario welding Bren machine gun magazines, and was recognized by National Geographic Magazine and other publications of the day for her outstanding work.
In 1950 George and Evelyn set off on an adventure that was to set the course for the family for the next 60 years by purchasing 84 acres of land on the Magnetawan River at Ahmic Lake in Ontario. It was their desire to have a place where they could get out of the city in the summer time and bring up their children in a country setting.
They soon began to build rental cottages, first for friends and later for others. In 1952 they obtained their first tourism license, and for the next 30 years they hosted families, and fishermen from across the U.S. and Canada. In 1980/81 they sold the property to their daughter Carol and son in law, Ken Turner, who continued the operation until 2013. Many memories were made over the years by children, grandchildren and great grandchildren around bon fires, fishing and swimming each summer.
Evelyn and George retired to Brighton, Ontario where she and George renovated an old farmhouse and created a wonderful oasis to enjoy nature and gardening. Winter gatherings around the wood stove were always popular with the family.
In 1994, wanting to be closer to services, Evelyn and George moved to Bridge Street in Belleville where they lived until illness forced them to move into a retirement home in April of 2018. Over the years, they made many friends among neighbours, square dance friends, carving and golf buddies.
At age 65, Evelyn took up songbird woodcarving. She was an active member of the Quinte Carvers for over 20 years, and won many awards for her outstanding work. Family and friends will continue to enjoy many of her carved birds. She was carving up to the age of 95, truly a remarkable accomplishment.
Evelyn’s family will miss her loving ways, her warm personality, and her pleasant smile. She has been an inspiration to us all and will be sorely missed.
Belleville woman recalls wartime work welding magazines for machine guns
Published on: November 10, 2014 | Last Updated: November 10, 2014 4:56 AM EST
Before Rosie the Riveter there was Evelyn the welder.
The Second World War had just begun. Later in the war, propagandists in the United States would create Rosie in their campaign to enlist women to make war materiel.
But it was basic need, not advertising, that drew Evelyn Hurford into the effort.
“My dad had been out of work for six years so I needed a job,” she said.
She found one at the John Inglis Co. near the city’s exhibition grounds. She would spend the next four years welding steel lugs onto the ammunition magazines of Bren light machine guns.
“They had to be perfect,” she recalled in a recent trip to the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment Museum in the Belleville Armouries.
“I loved the work. I really did. I just loved using my hands.
“It was hot and dirty and noisy.”
The job was repetitive, she said, but she never tired of it. The workers were paid for each unit welded.
The Bren gun was a mainstay for Canadian troops fighting around the world and even more magazines were needed.
“I used to get a stack of about 25 and then race the guy beside me to see who could get them done first,” Hurford said. She usually won.
She and her fellow women workers attracted national attention in the press.
“They only hired four of us – two of us for the day shift and two for the night shift.
“They treated us like royalty because we were the only two girls with about 50 men.”
Hurford said at the time she didn’t think much about where the guns were going or that she was part of a national workforce supplying Canadian soldiers.
“I think I was too young at the time to really think about things like that,” she said. Yet she also said, “It felt quite important … I felt I was helping out.
“When I finally quit there it was because I could weld more and better than the men could – but I couldn’t get paid more.”
After the war she worked in sales and took up woodcarving as a hobby.
She phoned fellow carver Jack Grindrod, a museum volunteer, after reading an Intelligencer article about the museum seeking photos and artifacts related to Canada’s military history.
Grindrod and museum volunteers created a display using some of photos of Hurford at work. A Bren gun is part of the exhibit.
The museum’s only prior displays featuring women are dedicated to the Canadian Women’s Army Corps and nursing. Grindrod said he was glad to include Hurford.
“It’s about time,” he said. “We’ve got guys all over the place.
“It’s great to have this kind of representation.”
The museum is open Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Entry is through the main doors off Bridge Street East just east of Pinnacle Street.
Evelyn, Mother, Loved One, Friend
We helped our Mother pass away this fall. Life drained from her so slowly. From a vibrant, confident, active wonderful woman to a forlorn, tiny, frightened child, she faded from our broken hearts into the angel’s arms.
Our hearts weep unrelenting tears of sorrow; our only saving grace is knowing she has been released from mortal pain into the loving hands of God.
She has been a good servant Lord, faithful, true, compassionate and loving. Embrace her with your all-encompassing love and let her move gracefully amongst the heavenly flowers, birds and swaying grasses. In our hearts she is the brightest star in the heavens forever twinkling down upon our saddened souls.
Soar with the eagles Mom, fly with every graceful bird above. Speak to us in the forest and as the snowflakes softly fall. Be with us in the garden and in the sparkle of the brook on a sunny day. May we see you in the smile of a lovely child and in every warm embrace.
Be with us always, our beloved Mother.