Featured Property: The Estate of Donald J. Hurst
Donald J. Hurst, a loving father and self-made businessman, was born July 11, 1929 and raised on a farm south of Waterloo, Iowa. As with many families living in the Midwest during the Great Depression, Don faced immense challenges and financial hardship. He recalled his family living in the barn, even in the dead of winter with sub-zero temperatures, so they could rent the main house in order to survive financially. Don also recalled walking along the railroad tracks with his brothers to pick up coal that fell off the trains for the family to burn.
Donald Hurst’s humble beginnings fueled his desire to succeed in life. As a young man, he worked on the railroad section crew laying tracks by hand, hard physical labor that required swinging a sledgehammer all day. After a couple of years working on the railroad, he took a job working for a local gas company digging ditches by hand to install gas services. He and his identical twin brother, Richard, were such efficient workers that they never got promoted up the ranks.
After meeting his wife, Gloria Keough, and having two children, he started his own plumbing business in Waterloo, Iowa. He and an assistant were plumbing over 500 houses a year. His business expanded to include outside excavation work – putting sewer and water services into the houses – as well as the interior plumbing.
Hurst’s business eventually began doing major state and municipal utility contracts and even worked as far as the east coast of Maryland, where his company installed an entire new underground steam system on Andrews Air Force Base, including the hangars for Air Force One.
Donald and Gloria raised four children together and shared a passion for collecting antiques, traveling together to search for one-of-a-kind pieces. He had a tremendous love and appreciation for the beauty and craftsmanship of the antiques in his collection. In particular, his passion for collecting Belter furniture made him well known and respected among dealers and collectors alike.
New Orleans Auction Galleries is honored to offer important American furniture and decorative arts from the Estate of Donald J. Hurst.