The Last Engineer
Nearly half a century later, my father, the last engineer on the University of Michigan Railroad, is gone, too. Most people who worked with Russ Hurst in his later years at the university knew him as the head of the Moving and Trucking department. Many acquaintances recall his stories of flying on a B-24 bomber and being interned in Sweden after his plane was shot down. Family and friends recall him as a dedicated church member, a father to many exchange students, the "cruise director" trip planner, or the grandpa with the swimming pool in his backyard. The little kid in me, however, finds comfort in remembering my dad as a train engineer. It is a strong, clear, and warm memory of a loving father who, on the university railroad and in so many other ways, gave me the ride of a lifetime.
Daryl Hurst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He thanks Dr. H. Mark Hildebrandt, Rich Olszewski, Pam Gibb, and the Bentley Historical Library for their help in researching this article.
[Originally published in May, 2013.]