May 29, 2015 at 12:22 am #11085Craig_AdamsParticipant
Today May 29, 1918 John Fremont “Jack” Hurd was born in Helena, Montana to Al Mayme Louis “Mamie” (O’Connell) & Andrew Augustus “Andy” Hurd. The Hurd’s moved to Boise, Idaho but then divorced. Jack and his mother moved back to Montana. On June 21, 1924 Jack’s mother Mamie married Charles Alfred Spindler in Montana. Charles was a native Portlander so the new family moved to Portland. Jack Hurd never changed his last name, although he is listed as John F.H. Spindler on some records.
On May 29, 1930 Jack’s father Andy died at age 35. By Sept 1930 the Spindler family was living at 324 East 58th St. in Portland. In 1933 the Spindler family moved to the Briarwood community on Briarwood Road. (Later aka: 12770 S.W. Fielding Road).
On June 12, 1943 John Fremont Hurd, 25, married his first wife, 22 year old Lourena “Lou” Hennig in Oswego. On September 13, 1947 it was announced Jack & Lou had divorced. By February 1948 Jack had started a mail order business called “Jack Hurd’s Riverside Gardens” where he offered Exhibition Quality 100 Gladiola bulbs for only $1.98. Five Famous Varieties. Guaranteed to bloom. Prompt Delivery at: Route 2, Box 599, Oswego, Oregon.
On May 28, 1948 the second marriage of 29 year old John Fremont Hurd to 24 year old Virginia Viola Kozlowski in Portland. The marriage took place the day before Jack’s 30th birthday. Was that intentional?
On April 30, 1950 it was announced that J.F. Hurd was chairman of the nomination committee to elect Glenn C. Ackerman, Multnomah County Sheriff. Some of the funny ads most likely written and paid for by J.F. Hurd were: “Getting Married! Make sure your honeymoon plans don’t interfere with that vote you’re going to cast for GLENN ACKERMAN for SHERIFF.” And this: “LACK PEP? Well, buck up, folks. Don’t let that “tired” feeling keep you from voting for GLENN ACKERMAN, Republican, for SHERIFF.”
On July 31, 1950 from the “Behind The Mike” column: Jack Hurd of Briarwood quit experimenting with 10-foot balloons he found in a San Francisco warehouse. The first few had been inflated with helium and they floated away. Helium was expensive, so he tried heating a pipe with a blow torch, then blowing air through the pipe. The hot air took the balloon up, but not far enough, and got snagged in a tree. Hurd quit his experiment when neighbors, suspecting the balloons were Russian Commies, called police.
By March 1951 Jack had begun another mail order flower business called “Luke Hopman.” Jack was Luke, offering Giant Flowing Camellia-Type Tuberous Begonias, only 7c each. 15 for $1, postpaid. “My guarantee to you. Your money promptly refunded if you’re not satisfied, even after blooming! Don’t dig them up, just write me. Mail Now! Immediate Delivery. Route 1 Aurora, Oregon.” This was later changed to Route 7, Box 27, Garden Home, Ore.
Jack was a truth fighter. He did not like seeing the corruption going on in Portland government. Jack set out to make it known. On March 21, 1953 Jack F. Hurd was arrested on a warrant charging him with criminal libel, accused him of authoring libelous postal card messages distributed in the city for two months. He was booked at the County jail about 3 A.M. and was released after posting $2,000. bail.
The postcards Jack was accused of sending to newspapers, police, the district attorney’s office and to private citizens in Portland, pointed out evidence of bootlegging, prostitution and juvenile delinquency existing in Portland and ignored by law enforcement agencies. Police asserted Jack as the leader of a vigilante group! On May 8, 1953 criminal libel against Jack Hurd, 36, an Oswego nurseryman, was dismissed but the publicity pretty much killed his nursery businesses.
On June 29, 1955 it was announced that Jack Hurd would begin publishing and become Editor of a new local entertainment guide giving weekly Radio & TV schedules called “Portland’s TV Radio & Entertainment Guide.” First copy would come out on June 30, 1955. This would be renamed “TV-Radio Prevue” by April 1956. On August 6, 1956 Jack appeared on an episode of KPTV’s “Hidden Camera.” Jack also delivered live TV commercials on KPTV local shows like Tarantula Ghoul’s “House of Horror.” Jack began having problems with shortness of breath at times but he didn’t see a doctor. This was the beginning of his Emphysema from smoking.
On March 3, 1957 “TV-Radio Prevue” magazine sponsored the first annual “Rosie” awards for Top Radio & Television Programs and Personalities in Portland. Originally announced as being telecast on all four Portland TV stations and audio on KPOJ AM/FM. The Sunday special was only seen on KLOR channel 12. The local special was held at “Amato’s Theater” restaurant from 9:00pm to 10:00pm. Soon after “TV-Radio Prevue” magazine disappeared. Jack tried his hand doing a talk radio show for a short time on “910 K-Van” but talk radio was in its infancy and KVAN didn’t know how to help.
In December 1958 Jack Hurd incorporated a new business “Jake’s Brakes” with money from Oscar Funke, Howard G. Sartin & Jack’s mother Mayme L. Spindler and opened in February 1959 at 6500 N.E. Union Ave. offering 88-cent brake adjustments and $16.66 brake lining jobs. Jack who was Jake, later said “Jake’s expanded so rapidly, from one shop to 47 in four years, I became totally lost. Didn’t know where I was. It was a one-man operation, management-wise. One day you find yourself in tax trouble you can’t bail out. The Treasury people moved in, seized and sold the assets” in 1961. Jake’s Brakes was grossing in the neighborhood of $4 Million when it went under. Hurd said: “I never went bankrupt, absolutely not.”
In March 1959 Jack Hurd incorporated another business “Jedco” with money again from Oscar Funke, Howard G. Sartin & Jack’s mother “Al Mayme L. Spindler.” This might have been the name for Jack’s car polish company. On March 31, 1962 the third marriage for 44 year old John Fremont Hurd to 21 year old Kathryn “Kathy” McCune in Portland. Kathryn later was an actress in theater. On June 29, 1963 Jack was Chairman of trophies at the Miss Oregon Pageant in Seaside. In 1963 Jack became worried enough about his shortness of breath to start asking doctors. A bit of cloudiness was seen in his x-ray. “Should I stop smoking?” Hurd asked. “Well cut down at least” said one doctor. Hurd decided to quit.
On February 9, 1967 it was announced Jack Hurd was opening a new business, here’s Jack to tell you about it: “There’s the color the building’s gonna be. Isn’t that tremendous?” Study the color. Orange? Peach? Hurd objects. “Make it more hideous than that,” he pleads. “It’s a great big building, as big around as this one (The Oregonian) with purple and green monkeys all over it.” The name of the place was “Greasey Gus” with 7 minute oil changes for 44c. 9 minute lube jobs for $1.66 & 30 minute transmission adjustments. etc.
Hurd rolled out the names of his new partners with their $200,000 investment: R.A. Heintz, Construction Co.; Carl Halverson, Halverson Construction; Mel Erland, Pacific Building Material; Henry Montag, Montag Construction, to illustrate what he has done to ensure the Jake’s collapse doesn’t happen again. The corporation, Greasey Gus, he explains, is split five ways with Heintz as President. Hurd was Vice-President. “The business end to me is as foreign as playing a harp. But these men, these are experts.”
On February 16, 1967 Jack Hurd began his Radio Talk Show career on KLIQ from 4:30pm to sunset weekdays as “Just Plain Jack.” By Summer 1967 Jack was on KLIQ 4:30pm to 6:30pm weekday afternoons, ending September 20th.
On May 1, 1967 Greasey Gus opened at 2700 S.E. 82nd Ave. weekdays 8:00am to 10:00pm. Later closing at Midnight. Saturdays 8am to 6pm. Sundays 10am to 5pm. Greasy Gus, Inc. had eight hoists and the firm employed 17 when it opened. “SAVE TIME – SAVE MONEY. For the Cleanest, Quickest, Most Courteous Lub In Town, Come To Greasey Gus.” Another ad: “ALL GREASEY GUS OFFICE GIRLS WEAR MINI-SKIRTS-WOW!” Greasey Gus ads disappeared in 1969. On July 22, 1967 Jack was a judge for the Miss Tan Portland Pageant.
On May 13, 1968 Jack Hurd returned to KLIQ and the new KLIQ-FM 6:30pm to 9:00pm weeknights as “Just Plain Jack.” On June 27, 1968 “Just Plain Jack” was heard 6:30pm to 8:30pm. By December 1968 “Just Plain Jack” was heard 3:30pm to 6:00pm. On February 18, 1969 Jack’s mother Al Mayme Spindler died at age 73. On June 2, 1969 “Just Pain Jack” was on 4:00pm to 6:30pm. On July 30, 1969 “Just Plain Jack” was moved slightly 4:15pm to 6:30pm. On November 3, 1969 KLIQ AM/FM switched format from Talk Radio to Country music and Jack was out of work.
In 1969 Jack and wife Kathy founded “Animal Aid” a non-profit organization that feeds and cares for injured birds and other animals, finds homes for cats and dogs and takes in strays until homes can be found for them. “I guess we got into this caring for birds and animals a few years back because we realized that a lot of the poor critters weren’t being cared for…and they should be. Some of these birds were injured and we keep them in holding pens until they were ready to go. I’d say that in the past eight or nine years we have placed about 9,000 dogs and cats in homes where they were wanted,” Hurd said.
On February 2, 1970 Jack Hurd returned to the air waves on KGAR from 4:00pm to 6:00pm weekday afternoons. On May 1, 1970 The Jack Hurd Show was moved to 5:00pm and ending at 7:00pm. Then on July 2, 1970 Jack was accused of making a series of statements on KGAR and was arrested. He was released the following day but lost his job. This had to do with his neighbors who had been harassing Jack because he was trying to feed wild birds and animals at his home.
On October 4, 1971 Jack Hurd returned to radio, beginning as the first talk show host on KKEY, a station that would become synonyms with talk radio for the next 25+ years. Jack Hurd’s program was on the air 11:00am to 1:00pm weekdays. In 1972 “Animal Aid” was incorporated. The original goals and mission: “To provide food for wild and domestic animals; to provide funds for routine and emergency veterinarian care for hardship cases; to rehabilitate and return wildlife to its natural habitat as possible; and to promote an understanding of all animal life and humane treatment of all domestic and wild creatures.”
On February 26, 1973 Jack Hurd returned to his talk show after several weeks with respiratory troubles. By October 1974 Jack Hurd was on KKEY from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. By April 1976 Jack had oxygen tanks in KKEY studios so he could breath during his talk shows. On April 17, 1977 fans of Jack Hurd held an Appreciation Day open house at the “Imperial Hotel” from 1:00pm to 4:00pm to congratulate him for his good works.
On May 14, 1977 Jack Hurd died at his Lake Oswego home at age 59 of Emphysema. On May 18, 1977 a funeral was held at 1:00pm in the Chapel of Hennessey, Goetsch & McGee with a memorial service. Vault entombment at Portland Memorial Mausoleum.
“With the passing of Jack Hurd local talk show host, the animal world has lost a true friend and champion. I never met Jack. I only knew him via radio as a welcome, sometimes rambunctious guest in my home every day from 1 till 3 p.m. I sometimes disagreed with him but never tuned him out. His love of animals was a monumental force in his life, and on occasion a caller, indifferent to the welfare of wildlife, would feel the lash of his tongue,” said Al Prescott of Newberg. The last words in his bio come from Jack himself: “I’ve come to believe sincerely that no living thing should be killed.”
Special Thanks to Joel Miller who helped make this biography more complete.
References: Animal Aid, The Oregonian.May 29, 2015 at 1:56 am #11088semoochieParticipant
I didn’t know there was a funeral. I went to Jack’s wake. It was intended to be a birthday party but circumstances intervened. I also didn’t know he died at home. He was in a coma(one of several)and I presumed he was in the hospital.
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