Dr. John Witwer Hurst, 99, The Winds at Mattern Orchard, Duncansville, died peacefully in his sleep Tuesday.
He was born in Altoona, son of Spencer and Edith (Whitelock) Hurst. He was twice married, first to Esther Nearhoof, who died Dec. 5, 1976, then to Margaret Barr, who died in June 1996.
Surviving are three children: Terrence Hurst and wife, Janet, of New Braunfels, Texas, Elizabeth Hurst and husband, Joe Risbon, of Hollidaysburg and John Hurst Jr. and partner, Wanda Franklin, of Gastonia, N.C.; three grandchildren: Terry Hurst and wife, Kristy, of New Braunfels, Texas, Erin Volmberg and husband, Joe, of Tacoma, Wash., and Brandy Hurst in Washington; three great-grandchildren: Ryan Nathaniel and Wyatt Cole Hurst and Autumn Jo Volmberg; and a sister, Louise Chandler of Naples, Fla.
He was preceded in death by his eldest son, Donald, who died from cancer in 2001; and a brother, Robert, who died in 1974.
John was a graduate of Altoona High School and Franklin and Marshall College and was the third generation of the Hurst family to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a medical degree. He served both his internship and residency at the Altoona Hospital, specializing in radiology.
John was a board-certified physician in Blair County for more than 50 years. Specializing in radiology, he founded Blair Radiologic Associates, serving Altoona, Nason, Spangler, Bedford and Tyrone Hospitals, as well as his own practice. He was especially proud of establishing the radiology department of Mercy Hospital, Altoona. He served as the radiologist for the Pennsylvania Railroad for many years and was one of the original members and owners of the Blair Medical Center in Altoona.
John was a longtime member of First United Methodist Church in Altoona and later a member of the Hollidaysburg First United Methodist Church. He was very active in a number of service organizations, including the Altoona Rotary Club, Altoona AMBUCS, Blair County Respiratory Disease Society, American Cancer Society, Blair County Civic Music Association and many more.
John especially enjoyed writing and publishing many "tuneful melodies" in his later years. He enjoyed the outdoors, was an avid hunter and enjoyed his time in the woods. He also enjoyed playing bridge and socializing with his many friends. His final thoughts were, "I hope that in some way my life has contributed to a better world. I think I have by my work as a physician, relieving pain and suffering; I hope so."
Friends will be received from 6 to 9 p.m. today at Plank, Stitt & Stevens Funeral Home, 421 Montgomery St., Hollidaysburg, and from 9 until the 11 a.m. funeral service Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, at Hollidaysburg First United Methodist Church.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation, 1330 11th Ave., Altoona, PA 16601, or Blair County Respiratory Disease Society, 159 Lakemont Park Blvd., P.O. Box 1954, Altoona, PA 16603.