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Newell Hurd dies at 93

Published: 9:10 AM, 06/08/2010

Author: Duay O'Neil
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

NEWPORT-Funeral services for the youngest child of Tennessee Gov. Ben W. Hooper are scheduled for Wednesday, June 9, at 11 a.m. at Episcopal Church of the Annunciation.

Newell Sanders Hooper Hurd died late Sunday, June 6, 2010, at Baptist Convalescent Center after a period of declining health. She was 93.

The daughter of Gov. Hooper and his wife, the former Annabelle Jones, she was born November 9, 1916 in the family's Newport home after her father had served two terms (1911-1915) as Tennessee's governor. She was named for her father's political ally Newell Sanders.

In 1920, after President Warren G. Harding appointed her father Chairman of the U. S. Railroad Labor Board in Chicago, she and her family moved to Illinois where she began her education.

They returned to Newport in the mid-1920s, and she continued her studies at Newport Grammar School and Central High School (now Cocke County High School).

After coming back to Tennessee, the Hoopers moved into a farmhouse in Carson Springs and her father resumed his law practice.

As a pre-teen, Newell became her father's driver, chauffeuring him from the family's home to his Newport office on a daily basis. On one occasion, the two escaped serious injuries when a chicken flew into the open-topped vehicle as they were coming into town.

On March 11, 1935, she married Edward Floyd Hurd, a young attorney who came to Newport in 1931 to practice law with Dooley McSween and George R. Shepherd.

The next year she was named the second Bristol Virginia-Tennessee Dogwood Festival Queen.

The Hurds became the parents of four daughters: Jane, Frances, Sandra, and Annabelle. 1950s-1960s, she was involved in their activities and at one time was a Brownie Scout leader.

She also taught ballroom dancing to a generation of Cocke County teenagers of the same era.

Her civic contributions included charter membership in The Clifton Club and William Cocke Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.

A member of several early Tennessee families, she was a descendant of Major William Robinson, Judge James Randolph, and Samuel Chandler Jones, all of whom were leading Cocke County citizens in the 19th century.

Her grandfather, Benjamin D. Jones, was the president of the first bank in Cocke County and co-owner of the Newport Mill. He and his wife, the former Townzella Jane Randoph, built Elm Hill, the large brick home featuring a cupola and overlooking Newport, in 1885.

For many years she was an active member of First Baptist Church of Newport. In 1969, she was confirmed into membership in Episcopal Church of the Annunciation and served on the church's Mission Council on more than one occasion.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by one sister and three brothers.

In addition to her daughters, her immediate survivors include twelve grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren. One sister, Janella Hooper Carpenter, age 101, also survives.

Manes Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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