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Hurst, Barbara Frances Wessel

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June 27, 1929 - February 11, 2014

Hurst, Barbara Frances Wessel

“Be Reasonable: Do it My Way” were the words on the plaque which graced Barbara’s desk at the American Jewish Committee. She really meant come with her, she’d take you on a heck of a ride! The foundation for this Tyler Rose’s impeccable style, integrity and courage came from her parents, Charlotte and Rabbi Harvey E. Wessel. Her zest for life was infectious, whether dancing all night, playing bridge, or rolling for a new car at the Top o’ the Hill. She built a network of lifelong friends, especially in Dallas, where she moved after her marriage to Chick Hurst in 1948. Community involvement was a given, whether registering voters, taking census, or working for Democratic candidates she believed in. She took her children downtown to hear Adlai Stevenson, where they saw first hand the ugly face of intolerance in an unruly mob, and she marched there 50 years later for immigration reform. She taught Sunday school at Temple Emanu-El, and as president of the Sisterhood she helped publish the first edition of their popular cookbook.  A lover of jazz, she filled her home with books, art, and culture, and made sure her family shared her passion. Road trips were always an adventure, and with guidebook in hand, she led her family down back roads from Mississippi to Mexico. In 1983 she moved to Seattle to become Director of the AJC. She immersed herself in her new city, initiating inter-faith programs, services for the elderly, a civilian review board of the police, even marrying a native, Arnold Robbins. They travelled extensively, and their annual July 4th parties, complete with a reading of the Constitution, became a much anticipated event. In 2010 Barbara moved back to Dallas to be closer to her children and reconnect with lifelong friends. She is survived by her children Gary, Jeff (Cora), Nikki Gibson (Dennis), six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and brother Edward Wessel (Judy). Barbara will always be a touchstone and source of strength to those who knew her. May her memory be a blessing. Special thanks to the staff of the Belmont Village for their loving care. Please send contributions in her name to the North Texas Food Bank. There will be a memorial service at Temple Emanu-El at 1 PM this Friday, February 14.

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