V. Jill Hurlbrink, a retired Catholic Charities social worker who appeared on 1960s television game shows, died of dementia complications Tuesday at Springwell Senior Living in Mount Washington. The Towson resident was 83.
Born in New York City and raised in Sea Cliff, a village in Oyster Bay on Long Island, she was the daughter of Stephens P. Brown, a Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance manager, and Loraine “Barry” Farrell. She was a 1956 Sea Cliff High School graduate and remained close friends with her classmates.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, where she met her future husband, Gordon Hurlbrink.
After college, she moved to Baltimore and settled in Baltimore County, where she lived for more than 50 years on Circle Road in Ruxton and on Piccadilly Road in West Towson.
Mrs. Hurlbrink joined Catholic Charities as an adoption caseworker and worked with parents interested in adopting babies.
Her son Gregory S. Hurlbrink said: ”My mother took enormous pride and found much joy in being able to help facilitate adoptions for so many deserving parents over the years. She kept in touch with many of the families as the babies she placed married and started their own families.”
He also said “A year ago she was still talking to the babies she had placed years ago who were now in college or are now 40 years old. She befriended these families and remained in touch. They occasionally went out to dinner. She thought it so cool to see how it all played out.”
After leaving Catholic Charities, Mrs. Hurlbrink joined Target Community & Educational Services in Westminster in 1984. She was its director of development.
During her 10 years at Target, Mrs. Hurlbrink raised more than $4.5 million and helped Western Maryland College enrich and endow the program’s work with mentally challenged individuals.
She next served for 17 years as a part-time program officer at the France-Merrick Foundation, where she worked on health and social issues.
“She had empathy for the people we were serving,” said Walter D. “Wally” Pinkard, the president of the France-Merrick Foundation. “She drew on her experience at Catholic Charities well. She had a great social conscience and was a help to our grantees.”
An avid sports enthusiast, she followed televised professional tennis and the Ravens.
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“My mother was a constant presence at her son’s and then her grandchildren’s sporting events,” her son said. “She also enjoyed trips to New York City and cruises with friends, and played in a monthly bridge group with her college classmates.”
Mrs. Hurlbrink enjoyed trivia and game shows.
In August 1963, she appeared on the televised game show “Password” and appeared with television personality Allen Ludden. Broadcast host Arthur Godfrey was her game partner.
“She lost and it bummed her out the rest of her life,” her son said. “But when she was on another show, “Sale of the Century,” she won some luggage and a trash compactor.”
On that occasion, she appeared with Joe Garagiola, a former baseball catcher and NBC announcer and broadcast host.
Mrs. Hurlbrink is survived by a son, Gregory S. Hurlbrink, a retired Legg Mason and Morgan Stanley wealth manager, and three grandchildren. Her marriage ended in divorce.
A final disposition of her ashes will be held in Sea Cliff at a later date.