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John Hurd
Born (1914-07-02)July 2, 1914
Sacramento, California, United States
Died September 6, 2001(2001-09-06) (aged 87)
San Antonio, Texas, United States

John Gavin Hurd (July 2, 1914, Sacramento, California[1] - September 6, 2001, San Antonio, Texas) was an independent oil and gas producer and cattle rancher who was tapped by Richard Nixon to be the U.S. ambassador to South Africa (1970-1975) under President Nixon. He also competed as a fencer in the 1936 Olympics.[2]

Early lifeEdit

While a student at Harvard College, where he studied Italian renaissance history, Hurd was captain of the fencing team and competed in the men’s team foil event at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Hurd graduated in 1934 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1937.[2]

Hurd took up fencing because he failed to make the boxing and football teams.[1]

During World War II, he served in the United States Navy as a surface warfare officer on destroyer escorts in the North Atlantic[1] and was awarded a Bronze Star.[2] As a result of his ROTC scholarship, he was commissioned as an Ensign in 1934. He went on active duty in 1941 retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander in 1946.[3]


After his naval service, Hurd practiced law in San Francisco with Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. He started Killam & Hurd with Radcliffe Killam. It was a Laredo, Texas based independent oil and gas exploration and production company. In 1982, he founded Hurd Enterprises, Ltd. in San Antonio, another giant in the oil and gas business.[1]

Hurd became active in the Republican Party in Texas in the 1950s and was a delegate to the Republican Presidential Conventions of 1964 and 1968. Hurd was Deputy State Chairman of the Republican Party in Texas in 1967-68, and Chairman of the Texas Nixon for President Committee in 1968.[1]


Hurd died in his home, aged 87, of heart failure.[2]


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