University of Texas
Shirley Benwell Hurt



December 14, 1928 – January 9, 2018

Shirley Ann Benwell Hurt

December 14, 1928 - January 9, 2018
Obituary plus additional information by Mel Oakes

Shirley's indomitable spirit finally succumbed to the ravages of flu and pneumonia and a myriad of other complications on January 9, 2018 at the age of 89.

Shirley was born December 14, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri to Orville Raymond (1905–50) and Madeline Lee Benwell. Orville was a pharmacist. Follow a divorce, Madeline married Marvin Bullard in 1935 in Tipton, Cedar, Iowa. The family lived in Ottumwa, Iowa, where she grew up. Marvin and Madeline had two children, Michael E. and Cylde Patrick. Marvin was a salesman. Ironically both Shirley's father and stepfather died in automobile accidents. Her dad in 1950 and her stepfather in 1940. During her senior year in high school Shirley was living on her own in Ottumwa. After graduating from Ottumwa High School in 1947, Shirley moved to Fort Worth, Texas to go to work for Braniff Airways. Always the model of decorum, few people know that while in training with the airline, Shirley and her roommate were kicked out of their boarding house by their puritanical landlordess for – gasp! – going out on a date with two young men.

While working at Braniff, Shirley met her first husband, Bill McCoy. They were married in 1949. After Bill completed his service in the Air Force, Shirley and Bill moved to Bill's hometown of Austin, Texas, where they bought their first home. Not long after, they moved to Denver, Colorado, where their son Michael McCoy was born in 1955 and a second son, Kevin McCoy, was born in 1958.

Unfortunately, her first marriage did not work out, and she and Bill divorced in 1960. Shirley met her second husband, Virgil Hampton, in 1961, and they and the two boys moved to Lynwood, Washington, outside of Seattle. While there, Shirley worked for the Edmonds School District and Virgil worked at Boeing. In 1963, they were blessed with a son Steven Hampton.

Shirley, Virgil and the boys moved to Virgil's hometown of Galax, Virginia in 1968. After a great deal of anguish, Shirley's second marriage ended in 1970, and she and the boys moved to Austin, Texas. While in Austin, Shirley worked as the head of procurement for fusion research at the University of Texas until she retired at the age of 62. During this time, she had a brief third marriage to Francis Hurt.

Shirley lived in Austin until she broke her hip while on the way to Costa Rica when she was 81. Due to complications from the break and surgeries, Shirley moved to Richardson, Texas to be near her son Michael. Eventually, Shirley moved into Appletree Court, a wonderful assisted living facility in Richardson, where she lived until the time of her death.

One mark of a life well lived is how many friends she made and kept over the years, from school mates at Ottumwa High School, to friends and neighbors in Lynnwood, Austin and Richardson. Shirley treated all the people she met with dignity, respect and kindness. It is an unfortunate fact of life that longevity can be both a blessing and a curse, as many of her friends have been lost in recent years. All of Shirley's friends have been a blessing to her. 

Shirley loved to bowl, play bridge, follow UT sports, especially women's basketball, and go dancing at the Broken Spoke in Austin with her closest friend Nelta. But most of all, she loved traveling with friends and family. She often said that the thing she missed most after breaking her hip was not being able to travel, as she still had a number of places on her bucket list.

Shirley died surrounded by her sons Michael and Steven. Along with Michael and Steven, she is survived by her brother Michael Bullard, grandchildren Sarah McCoy, Christopher McCoy, David McCoy, Jessica McCoy, Sydney Hampton, and Chance Hampton, her step-granddaughter Sarah Simmons and step-grandson Colin Royer, her great granddaughter Avery Walters and her niece Shelli Bullard Trowbridge. One of Shirley's greatest sorrows in life was that her son Kevin did not live to reach his 50th birthday. Shirley will be greatly missed by her family and all who knew her.

A memorial service to celebrate Shirley's life is scheduled for Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the Crestview United Methodist Church,1300 Morrow St, Austin, TX. A reception will follow at Trudy's North Star restaurant at 8820 Burnett Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to charitable organizations supporting research seeking cures for dementia and Alzheimer's or the care of patients with such afflictions, the World Wildlife Federation, or other charities of your choice. 

Shirley Hurt Photo Album

Shirley Benwell and maybe half-brother, Michael E. Bullard
Shirley Benwell
Shirley Benwell in the middle.
Shirley Benwell at right.
Shirley Benwell with half-brothers, Michael E., left and Clyde Patrick Bullard, right.
Shirley Benwell, sitting at left. 1946.
Shirley Benwell, sitting at left. 1946.
Shirley Benwell, kneeling second from left, Spanish Class, Ottumwa High School, Ottumwa, Iowa,1946.
Shirley Benwell, 3rd from right on front row, Spanish Class, Ottumwa High School, Ottumwa, Iowa, The Argus, 1946.
Shirley Benwell, Junior Year, top right, The Argus yearbook, 1946

Shirley Benwell and unknown, maybe brother Clyde Patrick Bullard.
Shirley Benwell McCoy, maybe Barton Springs, 1950s.

Shirley Benwell

Shirley Benwell, Bowling Team. Seattle, Washington area.
Shirley Hurt, University of Texas at Austin, Fusion Research Center

Shirley Hurt and Cleon Yates (UT Physics Glassblower)
Shirley Hurt and friend ?

Shirley Hurt
Shirley Hurt and maybe sons, Michael and Kevin McCory and Steven Hampton.

Shirley Hurt and ?
Shirley Hurt with Joyce Patton, Joyce was the administrative assistant for Center for Relativity and later worked in the Fusion Research Center.

Unknown and Shirley Hurt
Shirley Hurt

Diane Allen, Shirley Hurt, Joyce Patton
Unknown, Shirley Benwell Hurt, Unknown

Shirley Benwell Hurt


Shirley Benwell Hurt