HONORING THE LIFE OF NEEDHAM SLADE HURST; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 6
(Extensions of Remarks - January 10, 2020)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E25-E26]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. SUSAN W. BROOKS

                               of indiana

                    in the house of representatives

                        Friday, January 10, 2020

  Mrs. BROOKS of Indiana. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the life 
and legacy of Needham Slade Hurst, a renowned Hoosier business 
executive and dedicated community leader. His passion and drive for 
excellence led him to successes as a student, army officer, and 
business executive. Needham's philanthropic and community service 
helped to uplift the lives of countless fellow Hoosiers. The people of 
Indiana's Fifth Congressional District are forever grateful for 
Needham's immense contributions to the State of Indiana.
  Born to parents Needham King (N.K.) and Martha Slade Hurst on October 
15th, 1933, in Indianapolis, Indiana, young Needham was brought up to 
be industrious in his work, kind and fair to others, and to be 
charitable to his fellow citizens. In 1938, his father founded the N.K. 
Hurst Company. The company began as a distributor of coffee, tea, sugar 
and other food commodities to local grocers throughout the State of 
Indiana. In 1947, they began packaging edible dry beans, a product that 
has become so popular over the decades that it has made the Hurst's 
Beans name a nationally known brand, synonymous with the highest of 
quality. As the years went by, young Needham showed himself to be an 
exemplary student at Broad Ripple High School. It was during his time 
at Broad Ripple that he would meet and fall in love with fellow student 
Mary Lou Beesley.
  After graduation from Broad Ripple High School in 1951, Needham 
matriculated at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. It was 
during this time in his life that Needham and Mary Lou would marry in 
1954. In 1956 he departed from Indiana University having earned both 
his Bachelors of Science in Business and a Masters in Business 
Administration. Having been a member of the Reserve Officer Training 
Corp while at Indiana University Needham then went on to answer his 
country's call to duty, joining the United States Army in 1956. During 
his time in the Army, Needham served in the Quartermasters Corp, while 
stationed at Fort Lee in Petersburg, Virginia. By the time of his 
honorable discharge from the United States Army in 1958, Needham had 
risen through the ranks, ultimately attaining the rank of 2nd 
  Later in 1958, Needham and Mary Lou returned to Indianapolis to 
settle down and raise their children, son Rick, and daughter Cathy. 
Upon his arrival back in Indianapolis, Needham began his career at the 
family business, N.K. Hurst Company, where he initially worked in 
sales. In the succeeding years Needham would ascend to the position of 
Company President, working hand in hand with his brother Bill Hurst to 
grow the family business. Under the leadership of Needham and Bill, the 
N.K. Hurst Company expanded its operations becoming a nationwide 
distributor of coffee, tea, sugar and other food commodities. It was 
also during this time that the company became a major supplier of these 
food commodities to the United States Military Commissary Network. 
Having successfully stewarded the company through the decades, Needham 
and Bill, were able to pass the ownership and operations of the company 
to the 3rd and 4th generations of the Hurst Family.
  Wanting to spread the good fortune of the company's success to those 
less fortunate in Indiana, Needham and Bill continued the company's 
long history of supplying local food banks and charitable organizations 
with food supplies. This commitment to the betterment of his fellow 
Hoosiers is something that Needham practiced throughout his life. 
Needham served others in the community in a variety of different roles 
including serving as a church elder and deacon at the Second 
Presbyterian Church. He also maintained a role in encouraging youth 
sports as a basketball coach at the Jordan YMCA, and as a board member 
of the Indianapolis Junior Tennis Board.
  Needham also lent his leadership skills to many organizations 
throughout the State of Indiana. Terms serving on the Board of 
Directors of the Indiana University Foundation, as Governor of the 
Orchard School of Indianapolis, and as a Franklin College Trustee 
allowed Needham the opportunity to provide countless educational 
opportunities to ensuing generations of Hoosiers. Needham also served 
his community through his membership in organizations including the 
Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, the Junto Club, the YPO (formerly the Young 
President Organization) and the University Club of Indianapolis.
  Along with his beloved wife Mary Lou, and son Rick, Needham served on 
the Board of St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. Having also served 
as a member of the Board of St. Vincent Hospital, I had the distinct 
pleasure of developing a close friendship and working relationship with 
the Hurst Family.
  Needham cherished the summers he would spend with his family and 
friends on Lake Wawasee. His love of boating was a lifelong passion 
that he shared with succeeding generations of his family. Trips around 
Lake Wawasee in his boat ``Little Sugar'', a 1951, 16' Century inboard 
were a favorite pastime of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, 
especially during the ``Thunder Run'' parade of vintage boats on Sunday 
mornings. Needham's love for Lake Wawasee inspired him to serve on the 
Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, an organization aimed at keeping a 
clean and healthy lake for future generations to enjoy.
  After a long life of service to others, Needham passed away 
surrounded by his family and loved ones on January 1, 2020. Needham 
will be forever missed by the many Hoosiers whose life he impacted. On 
behalf of Indiana's Fifth Congressional District, I extend my deepest 
condolences to Needham's beloved wife Mary Lou, their daughter Cathy 
Meyer and her husband Philip, their son Rick Hurst and his

[[Page E26]]

wife Lisa, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as all 
past and present employees of N.K. Hurst Company, and all others who 
mourn his passing.