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Blowing glass like no one else

His forte was molding glass, but professor Robert Hurlstone is remembered for molding the creative minds of his art students.

Hurlstone, who died of cancer Nov. 27, left a legacy behind as a father, professor, colleague and friend. He is best remembered by his students as a patient, encouraging teacher who always had his door open.

He not only nurtured and directed students into grasping the fundamentals of glass blowing, but he also challenged students to think outside the box.

Known as “Bud,” Hurlstone headed the glass blowing department at the University for 28 years.

Kate Serne, senior, had Hurlstone for three classes and said he was a wonderful person, which made him an even better teacher.

“He wanted us to view glass like no one else before, he was always welcoming new ideas and never tore you down,” she said.

Hurlstone pushed his students to explore their own creativity and find new angles on glass blowing. He not only inspired those ideas but encouraged students to share those ideas, according to Serne.

“I didn’t pass my first portfolio, I was up for my second portfolio review, and he looked lightly over my work and could see that I have great potential,” Serne said. “He pushed me to see how far he could get me.”

According to Serne, Hurlstone single-handedly sculpted the entire glass blowing department.

“He was a great man who meant a lot to a lot of people, he changed a whole lot of people’s lives,” Serne said.

Born in Chicago, Ill., Hurlstone went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Illinois State University, and his master’s degree in fine arts at Southern Illinois University.

Hurlstone is known internationally for his works of art and has pieces in collections at the Corning Museum in Corning, NY, the Rahr-West Museum in Germany and two pieces at the Perrysburg Hospice.

He also contributed gifts to the Jerome Library and Ramona Cormier Faculty Reading Room.

Tony Bove, junior, had Hurlstone for three semesters and noticed his unique approach to teaching.

He worked differently with everybody and would tailor his teaching style to fit specific students’ needs, Bove said.

At a funeral service in Perrysburg, Hurlstone’s wife Shirley let a live dove out of a box at the end, symbolizing his spirit being freed.

Hurlstone will be remembered most fondly by his three children. His daughter Brynn is a junior in the glass blowing department and is following in her father’s footsteps.

“He was an amazing father,” Brynn said. “I am extremely lucky, he is a huge inspiration and was extremely talented. He coached all my sports teams and made me feel important.”

Hurlstone was not only focused and driven as a professor, but he also made time to coach boys’ and girls’ softball, soccer, baseball and basketball in Perrysburg.

According to Brynn her father was her hero, and the glass program will never be the same without him.

She only attended one class taught by her father while he was alive, but said dad never lost his professionalism in the classroom.

“He was very fair, I never got special treatment,” Brynn said. “He treated me like I wasn’t his daughter, he was so intelligent and made me believe in myself.”

What she’ll miss most about him was his ability to read people and his sense of humor.

“He had the most wonderful dry laugh,” Brynn said. “It sounded like he didn’t think you were funny at all.”

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