Cover photo for James M. "Jim" Hurley's Obituary
1934 James 2020

James M. "Jim" Hurley

November 14, 1934 — June 12, 2020


James M. Hurley, Brigadier General  (MD) Retired

James M. Hurley passed away on Friday, June 12, 2020 at his home.  General Hurley was born on November 14, 1934 in Cambridge, Maryland to James Carlton Hurley and Altha May Thompson Hurley, both who are deceased.  His basic education was through the school system of Dorchester County.  After graduation from Cambridge High School in 1952, he went to work for Phillips Packing Company in their employment office, interviewing and hiring personnel to staff factories located in Cambridge.

On February 3, 1953, he enlisted into the Maryland Army National Guard to supplement his income and serve the people of the State of Maryland, an obligation that resulted in nearly 37 years of continuous service providing many opportunities for upward mobility as a soldier.  He also took advantage of every opportunity that came his way.  After serving seven years as an enlisted soldier and having reached the rank of Sergeant E-7, he was selected to attend Class #1 of the Maryland Military Academy.  Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant Infantry and assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion 115th Infantry, the unit he had enlisted into.  This was really the beginning of a career that saw him take full advantage of his educational opportunities and greatly expand his influence within the military environment he had chosen to participate in.  Reaching the rank of Brigadier General after having started out in the enlisted ranks does not occur that often.

Upon retirement from the military, he exercised his option to become a member of the American Legion and joined Dorchester Post 91 in Cambridge, Maryland in 1976, and later served as Post Commander of that organization in addition to a number of other positions within the post including that of a lifetime membership provided to him by the Post.

In the summer of 1957, he decided to apply for an appointment to the position of “Inspector” with the Tidewater Fisheries Commission, which later became the Department of Natural Resources, the state agency responsible for enforcement of laws and regulations designed to protect the resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and included having the responsibility to protect the wildlife within the State of Maryland.  His initial assignment was to the Little Choptank River aboard a patrol vessel as an entry level enforcement officer.  Over the 31 years he worked for this organization, he was nearly as successful there as he was with his military service.  After nearly 20 years as a field enforcement officer, he was assigned to the Natural Resources Police Academy at the rank of Sergeant.  After serving in that rank he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and given the job of Training Officer.  During this tour of duty, he was selected to attend the FBI National Academy, and was the first Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer to attend the 112th Session of this unique organization.  After he returned from the FBI National Academy, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and named Chief of Field Operations.  He retired from the Natural Resources Police in 1988 after 31 years of service.

After his retirement from the Natural Resources Police, he was appointed to the District Court of Dorchester County as a Judicial Officer in the classification of District Court Commissioner, and finally retired from that position on February 4, 2010.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Shirley Ann Willoughby Hurley, and they have two children, Mark Gregory Hurley and LeAnn Hurley McWilliams.  Mark is a retired Maryland State Trooper who now lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with his wife Cheryl.  LeAnn is married to Chet McWilliams, and they have two daughters, Taylor Mace and her husband Zach, and Emily McWilliams and her partner Corey Parks.  Mr. Hurley is also survived by a great grandson Peyton Zane Mace, as well as his nieces, Cathy, Renee, Debbie, Tammy, and Adrienne, a nephew Scott, and a brother Harry Hurley and his wife Shawna.  Besides his parents, Mr. Hurley is preceded in death by a sister Carolyn Bradford.

Honorary Pallbearers will be Chet McWilliams, Zach Mace, Bill Wise, George Brem, Leonard Hubbard, Bobby Foxwell, Phil Bradshaw, and Ray Beck.

A graveside service with full military honors will be held on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 11 AM at East New Market Cemetery.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, masks will be required and social distancing will be observed.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to the Coastal Hospice Foundation, P.O. Box 1733, Salisbury, MD, 21802.  Arrangements are in the care of Thomas Funeral Home, P.A. in Cambridge.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James M. "Jim" Hurley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

East New Market Cemetery

Maryland 16, East New Market, MD

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