Eliot Provoost Hurd, chairman of museum


Eliot Provoost Hurd, a consultant and avid sailor who was chairman of the board of the Baltimore Maritime Museum, died of a heart attack July 15 at his Baltimore home. He was 72.

Mr. Hurd was president of Tidewater Funding Management, a financial and administrative management consultant to small businesses.

He raced sailboats and participated in the race from Annapolis to Newport, R.I., nearly a dozen times, beginning in 1953 and ending in 1993.

Locally, he sailed his 29-footer, "Garuda," which he named after a mythical bird of paradise found in the lore of Far Eastern cultures.

"To him, sailing was idyllic and the Garuda bird represented paradise and that was the connection," said Henry Pitts, a friend for 35 years. He said that Mr. Hurd learned to sail at a local yacht club in his hometown of Red Bank, N.J.

"He just loved it. He sailed all of his life. It was very relaxing for him, it was an absolute love. Even the sea and its ugly elements were very relaxing for him," said Mr. Pitts, who was 15 when he met Mr. Hurd.

"We met while sailing -- when I thought I had all the answers and he knew that I didn't," he said. "He was a mentor to me. He taught me everything -- how to sail, how to live, how to be a gentleman."

Mr. Hurd was educated at the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa. and attended the Johns Hopkins University for three years. He also attended the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance's Institute of Investment Banking and Ohio State University's Health Care Financial Management Institute.

In 1941, he moved from Red Bank to Chestertown to work for the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland as a cable splicer's helper. In 1956, he went to work for a Baltimore stock brokerage firm and two years later, helped to organize Tidewater Industrial Leasing Co. Inc. In 1973, he founded Union-Tidewater Financial Co. Inc. and served as its president.

Besides serving on the board of the maritime museum, which consists of three Inner Harbor vessels, the Torsk, the Taney and the Chesapeake, he was a member of the board of Emons Transportation Group Inc., Canton Railroad Co. and The Children's Home in Catonsville.

"He had leadership, a vision and unflagging enthusiasm," said Jennifer Hevell, acting director of the Baltimore Maritime Museum. "He also held a belief that the tools we have were things that could be used to foster eduction for the children of Baltimore. He really believed that he had a responsibility and the ability to make the world a better place."

Mr. Hurd was a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club, the Sailing Club of the Chesapeake, the Windjammers of the Chesapeake and the Society of Colonial Wars. He was also chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee and a member of the Baltimore City Republican Committee.

A memorial service was set for 2 p.m. today at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Garrison.

A son, Eliot P. Hurd Jr., died in 1991 after a brief illness.

Mr. Hurd is survived by his wife, Janet; two daughters, Ellen H. Schuman of Charlottesville, Va., and Susan H. Bondi of Baltimore; a brother, Edward A. Hurd of Chicago; and four grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Maryland; Camp Pasquaney, Briston, N.H.; or The Children's Home in Catonsville.

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