On Wednesday, April 8, Joan McNair Hurrell, of Penn Hills, PA, died suddenly following a brief illness. Born of Scottish immigrant parents, David and Joann McNair in Wilkinsburg, PA, on December 25, 1928, Joan grew up celebrating her Scottish heritage. She was one of six children who have all preceded her in death. She graduated from Wilkinsburg High School in 1946 and began working as an operator for the Bell Telephone Co. On September 9, 1950, Joan married Allen Wade Hurrell, (died February 2, 2009) and spent the next 59 years together raising their five children and enjoying five grandchildren.
For all who knew her, Joan was known as a consummate teacher, dedicating herself to Early Childhood Education. Her love of children led her to become a preschool teacher at East Liberty Presbyterian Church’s Nursery School and to later found the Nursery School Program at Linway Presbyterian Church in North Versailles, PA, which still exists today. She remained the Director of the school for the next 25 years. Her dedication to children continued long after her retirement, as a volunteer at the Penn Hills School District Kindergarten, to which she donated her services until this year. As a lifelong member, Elder, Deacon, and current Hospitality committee member of Beulah Presbyterian Church in Churchill, she also lent her teaching skills to the Sunday School for children and to the Exceptional Friends. When asked how she was able to communicate so well will preschoolers, she often attributed her success to listening, patience, and ruling with not only discipline, but with a kind heart.
Joan, along with her husband Wade, were active long-time members of Edgewood Country Club in Churchill. Both avid golfers, they participated in many club tournaments and events. Joan served as vice-president and president of the Women’s Golf Association at Edgewood and she also served as Co-chairman of the Club’s decorating committee for over 25 years.
Joan loved to travel and took many trips around the globe with her husband. Her most recent trips were to her beloved Scotland with her daughter in 2016 and a river cruise down the Columbia River in 2018. She was an avid supporter of the Arts, and maintained season tickets to both the Broadway Series and Symphony Pops. Her love of beauty manifested itself in her garden and in the many years spent decorating Edgewood CC and the church for the holidays. She was also a phenomenal baker to which all who have sampled her cookies, cakes, and pies, can attest. She spent many years donating her baked goods to the church and to various organizations.
Joan Hurrell is survived by her children; Deborah Hurrell, Mark (Marianna) Hurrell, Susan Hurrell (Monica Prebish), Elizabeth Hurrell, and David (Diane) Hurrell, and grandchildren Brooke, John, Samantha, and Jennifer. Her eldest grandchild, Nathan, preceded her in death in 2014.
A Memorial Service for Joan Hurrell will be held at a later date. Donations can be made to either The American Cancer Society, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, or the Beulah Church Organ Fund.
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