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It is with profound sorrow that we acknowledge the passing of a remarkable woman that was approaching 102 years old.
Evelyn Dorothea Craig Ireland Hurd was born on September 30, 1921 in Braddock, Pennsylvania to William Craig and Hortense Grey. She was the oldest of five siblings and a “Big” sister she was. She spent her primary years in Braddock graduating from Braddock High School. She went on to attend the Virginia State College for Negroes, Petersburg, VA as a legacy student and graduated with a BS in Physical Education in 1943. While in college, she pursued her interests in ballet and dance and often performed with fellow classmate and friend, the great jazz artist/educator Dr. Billy Taylor (deceased). Evelyn was also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
After college, Evelyn moved to Washington DC and worked in the city school system as a physical education teacher. There she met Charles Ireland, Sr. (Charlie) who was attending Howard University Medical School, they married in 1945. Upon Charlie’s graduation, they resided in New York City while Charlie completed his residency and then later moved to Norfolk, VA so that he could fulfill his obligations as a naval officer. The two later returned to Washington DC whereby Evelyn embraced motherhood with grace and devotion, nurturing two very young children of her husband’s, as her own, Charles Jr. (age 4) and Michael (age 2). Family was a great priority always. They prospered in the culturally rich environment of Washington DC in/out of segregation. They traveled extensively throughout the world and vacationing domestically often to Cape Cod, MA, Sag Harbor, NY and Puerto Rico. Later in life after many years of working in public school systems she returned to school earning a Master’s Degree from Catholic University of America (1952) and then went on to earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Maryland (1970). Evelyn held many positions in mental health facilities, institutions and governmental agencies. She ultimately held the position of Director for Mental Health for the District of Columbia, Washington DC. Later Evelyn partnered into private practice with a dear colleague and life-long friend Dr. Edna Small from which she retired. She was married to Charles for 43 years until his passing (1988). Evelyn later married Lieutenant Colonel James Hurd (Jim) (1993) a noted Tuskegee Airmen and Howard University Retiree. Their marriage lasted until Jim’s passing (1999). They spent the years of their marriage living between Washington DC and Sarasota FL., enjoying their retired years traveling and spending quality time with family and friends.
Evelyn’s professional accomplishments are too many to mention, but included her lecturing both domestically and abroad including China and Africa, contributing to research and policies to many institutions and organizations, fostering all the while diversity at every level.
Evelyn was a lifetime member with the NAACP and National Urban League. She was philanthropic with artwork collected interestingly through relationships developed early in life with artists who became world-renowned. The artwork was later donated to several HBCU museums.
After Jim’s passing, Evelyn ultimately decided to move closer to her siblings and their families settling in Virginia Beach, VA. She moved to Westminster Canterbury, a Long Term Care Community, being the first African American, where she lived for 22 years. During her stay, she contributed to their community newsletter with regular yearly segments on African American history. She traveled abroad with many travel groups, participated in dance classes, many other onsite activities and was an active member of the Book Club allowing Evelyn to continue with her voracious reading and growing her extensive personal library.
While in Virginia Beach, she studied at the world-renowned Edgar Casey Institution in Virginia Beach on a never-ending quest for spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. Her additional studies and practices included Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Chakras, and Solfeggio Frequency healing were with regularity.
Evelyn was fortunate to have several centenarians remaining in her life who were the dearest and progressive women as herself that have all passed except one remaining at 101yrs old, Alma Gravely. Evelyn had an insatiable wanderlust that led her to explore the world soaking in the beauty of diverse cultures savoring every moment of her adventures. Her travel tales and experiences served as a source of inspiration for family and friends. With a heart full of empathy and desire to heal others, Evelyn embarked on a fulfilling career as a Psychologist as well as touched the lives of countless individuals. Her dedication to helping others find solace and strength was her life calling and her legacy lives on in the lives she touched. Though she may be physically absent, her spirit lives on in the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her. Evelyn’s life was a testament to the strength of her spirit and her ability to persevere through life challenges, her love, and an unwavering commitment to family and friends and her career.
In November 2022, Evelyn asked her grandchildren of Philadelphia if she could move closer to them to alleviate travel efforts to be with her as needed, how thoughtful. They did not hesitate for a moment to jump at an opportunity to having her closer to them. She settled in Ambler, PA at a new assisted living residence where she passed.
Prior to her passing, Evelyn had survived two husbands: Dr. Charles S. Ireland, Sr., Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hurd (USAF), two children: Charles S. Ireland, Jr, Michael Ireland, 4 brothers: Carl Craig, Sr., Lynwood Craig, Francis Craig, William Craig, and Nephew: Carl Craig, Jr.
Evelyn is survived by: stepson, James Hurd, Jr (Cisselon); stepdaughter, Linda Burnett; grandchildren, Charles (Marisol), Rebecca, Joel (Johanna), Kirby(Carmen), Mia Stephen and Shelby; great-grandchildren, Julian, Laiza, Charles IV, Ethan, Mason, Gabriel, Niahmaris, Michael and Avery; nieces and nephews, Charissa (Mark), Daryl(Tamika), Tony, Shirley, Felicia(Charles), Kevin, Marc(Crystal); sister-in-law, Loretta; god-daughter, Susan Small; and many grand nieces, nephews extended family and friends.
Submitted With Love,