Samuel Thomas Hurst IV
Sam Hurst died peacefully at his home in Montecito on April 10 of natural causes. He was 94.
Sam was born on September 23, 1920 in Fort Valley, Georgia to Jule Brown Hunter and Samuel Thomas Hurst II. He graduated in architecture from Georgia Tech where he led a campaign to change the educational system from the Beaux Artes tradition to Modernist.
Lieutenant Hurst served in Naval Photographic Intelligence on Guadalcanal in WWII, discovering an enemy airfield under construction that was subsequently destroyed. He earned his wings as an aircraft carrier pilot. Then studied with Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Gropius, as mentor and life long friend, influenced Sam to devote himself to education with the spirit of the Bauhaus.
He worked in the private sector, taught at Tulane and Georgia Tech and became the youngest Dean of Architecture and Fine Arts at Auburn University.
From 1961- 1973 he was Dean of Architecture and Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. He was a Fellow of the AlA and brought his vision of education to the school along with many cutting edge architects as faculty and guests. He designed the new School of Architecture Building on campus. He also saved the Gamble House, now an historic Pasadena landmark, from demolition. He gained national and international prominence through his writing and speaking and as Chair of the National Architecture Accrediting Board.
Sam had a missionary spirit leading him to champion the social good. He was proudest of being known as “the conscience of the Council of Deans”. He believed love and service were most important.
He was a founder of Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility. After he resigned his Deanship he continued to teach, retiring in 1990. He moved to Montecito and Santa Ynez. He was a founding Board Member of the Sustainability Project, on the Board of The Fund for Santa Barbara, active in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and in his profession.
Sam was a true Southern Gentleman who loved music and dancing (he was known as the dancing dean), politics, nature (especially trees) and hunting birds, photography and was an avid tennis player into his 90’s. His spirit will live on in the hearts of his family, many friends and former students. He made a difference.
Sam is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Lillian Gershenson Carson, his 3 step children Susan Gevirtz, Steve Gevirtz and Carrie Gevirtz Wicks and 6 step-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his first wife Melinda Hurst, their 3 children, Lian Hurst Mann, Sam Hurst V, and Mindy Askin , 4 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, and a brother John Hurst.
We want to honor his caretakers who gave love and care beyond measure: Omar Jimenez and Maria Lopez.
At his request there will be no service.
Donations in his memory may be made to Life Chronicles 113 W. Mission Street, Santa Barbara 93101 or Visiting Nurses and Hospice Care 509 E. Montecito Street #200, Santa Barbara 93103