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Life in the Motor Cities Gruppe

Our Friend Heath

March 26, 2018
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Heath Hurlbert

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We were all surprised and saddened to learn that in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, 21 March 2018, our good friend – my good friend – Heath Hurlbert departed this world. A powerful reminder, as all of you know who have lost loved ones or close friends, that we are not permanent-party here on earth. And it’s always difficult to come to grips with the end of a friendship that lasted over half your life-time. As many of you know Heath had some severe medical problems, which finally seemed to be on the mend, and he was talking about, and making plans for, a return to a more normal life, which would not include hospitals. So his death was a shock.

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Forty-five years ago it was spring, and things were better. I ran across Heath a couple of times when I worked at Ford Dynamometer. He was what we would call an IT guy today. He would pick up the data we generated and take it over to run on Ford’s computer, a Hewlett Packard 8000-something that took up a whole building behind the “Glass House,” Ford World Headquarters on Michigan Ave and Southfield. To let you know what people thought of Information Technology in the early 1970’s, Heath was the only guy I know of who started as a salary grade one! This he told me later when we had become friends.

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Things were obviously much better at Blue Cross because he could buy a Porsche. Heath was already racing a Formula V, prepared by Motts (ask me), and so preparing the 911 for competition was natural. That’s just what we did back then, nobody drove a stock car, especially a Porsche. We got to be good friends over his Glacier Blue ’72T because I was the only guy who could fix his trick fiberglass front spoiler. The ’72 eventually became a 3.2 twin-plug RSR way before anyone heard of “Outlaws” and “R-Gruppe” cars.

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But Heath was really a Porsche Renaissance man, owning everything from a 1950 Coupe through his current 997 Carrera S bought new. “Back-in-the-day” we bought, sold, and parted out every kind of Porsche imaginable.  Then the restoration bug hit. When I went into the Porsche business full time in 1978, Heath’s 1960 Sunroof Coupe was the first car I finished, and he did much of the work with me. He was very involved and capable with artistic things, from antiques, to sanding and prepping a car for paint, to lost-wax investment casting of parts for mechanical banks, of which he had quite a collection at one time. He was responsible for much of the jeweled perfection on his America Roadster, which took People’s Choice at the 1993 Parade, and blue ribbons at Meadowbrook and Eyes on Design.

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We had many Porsche adventures, from PCA color “tours,” where we just barely escaped jail in Ohio one year, and nearly froze to death in a track prepped 911 with race headers another fall – as Kathy and Karen rode along comfortably chatting in a heated girly car, to concours and track events. We never competed directly on the rack. He ran a Formula V, I ran an E-Prod Speedster. He ran the crazy fast ’72 RSR, I ran a stock prepped ’72 T, then a ‘72 S. But we always had a load of lies to swap. And somewhere along the way I was honored to be his best man when he and Kathy were married.

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As you get older you spend more time remembering the things you did, more than the things you no longer (can) do. So we would always watch Formula 1 (neither of us quite made that level), went to the Detroit Auto Show, and Autorama, because Porsches were not our only car interests. I took him pictures in the hospital from the 2018 Autorama, but I had depleted the battery in Karen’s tablet, and now he will never see them. Good by dear friend, I am sure there are many others who will miss you too. Karen and I express our deepest sympathy to Kathy, may God grant you peace and comfort in the Great Name of Jesus.  

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Reverend Ron Roland

 

No plans are known for a memorial service at this time. We will update the Gruppe when we learn more. In the meantime, Cards and condolences can be sent to:

 

Kathy Hurlbert

26710 Carol

Franklin, MI   48025

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Comments

  1. Ron, what a heartfelt tribute to our friend Heath. He was all you said and more, always kind and with a smile. RIP Heath. Diane Beecher

  2. Are there any plans for a service for Heath??

    hk

  3. Thank you for sending this . Alex L. Kraski

  4. Very sad news, Heath was a terrific guy. Very nice tribute and photos, thanks Ron.

    hrkurrie

  5. Please post Cathy’s address so people can send cards Thanks Peggy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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