John Hurd II

John Hurd died on January 20, 2024 at Piper Shores retirement community in Scarborough, Maine, from complications of a spinal fracture. He was 86 years old.

John grew up in Lincoln, MA. New England was more than John’s place of birth and early life. His family roots there were deep, stretching back to several ancestors aboard the Mayflower.

High school at Belmont Hill School was followed by a B.A. in history from Yale University in 1959, and a Ph.D. in South Asia Regional Studies with a specialty in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, in 1969. He taught courses on economics and India at Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University, Williams College, and Norwich University. In 2010, he retired from Norwich as emeritus professor of economics. John’s research focused primarily on the economic history of India in the British period, first on the economies of the princely states of India in his doctoral dissertation, and later on Indian railways. He wrote several articles about India and co-authored with Ian J. Kerr, India’s Railway History: A Research Guide. For two years, in 1985-87, he was Director of the American Studies Research Centre in Hyderabad, India. For 32 years he lived in Vermont where he served on local economic development committees, the Montpelier Park Commission, and the State Psychology Board.

While at Penn, he met his future wife Janice “Judi” Levine. They married in 1963, and in over 60 of marriage had many adventures, especially during their years living in India.

John was a lifelong friend to many, a kind, decent, gentle man, respected and loved by all who knew him. He will be remembered for his intellect, his cheerfulness and good humor, his interest in and care about others, and for his engaging smile and the twinkle in his eyes. He loved music, art, and history, and he loved India, reminiscing with friends days before his death about his Indian experiences.

Predeceased by an older brother, Christopher, John is survived by his wife Judi, his son Nathaniel and wife Kristin, his brother Charles, and his cherished grandchildren, Benedict, Catherine, and Cecilia.

In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting the Union of Concerned Scientists or Doctors Without Borders.