hurd-william-obit-picture1William J. Hurd of Mesquite, Nevada passed away on November 17, 2016 after a sudden illness. He was 76 years old.

Bill grew up on Long Island, New York and received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Clarkson University in 1961 where he was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 2011 for leadership and service to profession. He obtained a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California and in 1967 began a distinguished 40-year career in the Deep Space Network at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Center. He was the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for Technical and Managerial Leadership and the JPL Award for Exceptional Technical Excellence. He was the Principal System Architect in Interplanetary Network Directorate, conducted research in Deep Space Communications and Global Position System and was the Deputy Manager of Communications Ground Systems Section. In retirement, he served as a JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Bill is survived by his wife, Elaine; son David (Lisa) of Denver, Colorado; two grandchildren; son Jeff (Lisa) of Burbank, California; brother, Frank of Long Island, New York; nephews, William of Washington, D.C., and James of Annapolis, Maryland.

Bill wrote political commentary, cared deeply about environmental issues and loved animals, having spent many years rescuing homeless dogs. If you wish to honor his memory, please donate to the Humane Society of the Ouachitas ( or Paso Pacifico (, both of which represent his passions and are operated by close friends of the Hurds.

There will be a Gathering of Friends at Wolf Creek Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada on Tuesday, November 29 at 5:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held on Long Island, New York in February 2017. Details will be announced at as they become available. The family invites you to leave a message or memory in their “Guest Book” at