USAO News Bureau

JURTH, William R.

Friday, August 27, 1999

Graveside services are scheduled Jan. 13, 1999, at 1:30 p.m. in Chickasha’s Rose Hill Cemetery for engineer and artist William R. Jurth, 96, of Ridgefield, Conn. Jurth died Aug. 27, 1999, at Filosa Convalescent Center in Danbury, Conn., after a brief illness.

He and his wife, the late Florence Brown, were fond of USAO and left a sizeable portion of their estate to the university.

He was preceded in death by his wife, art teacher Florence Roberta Brown, formerly of Chickasha, who graduated from the Oklahoma College for Women (now USAO) in 1926.

Officiating at the service will be Rev. Janet Ruark of First Presbyterian Church of Chickasha. Mr. Jurth’s ashes will be laid to rest in the Brown family plot, where Mrs. Jurth was buried after her death in 1977.

William Jurth was born in Switzerland on Oct. 6, 1901, the son of the late Carl F. and Marie Schweitzer Jurth. He emigrated to the United States in 1929 and later married former Oklahoman Florence Brown. They met while she was studying art in New York with William Starkweather, John Stewart Curry and other famous artists. The young couple settled in Larchmont, N.Y., where she taught art and he was employed as an optical engineer.

During World War II, Mr. Jurth worked as an optical engineer at Otis Elevator in Yonkers, N.Y., where he made range finders for the U.S. Navy. He retired in 1956. Before that, he worked for Koeffel-Esser Corporation in Hoboken, N.J.

Florence Brown was born Aug. 8, 1903, in Fort Worth. She died March 18, 1977. She graduated from Chickasha High School in 1921 and moved east after her graduation from OCW.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Jurth were artists and charter members of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. He was also a collector of and specialist in minerals, antiques and cactus plants. Mr. Jurth maintained more than 300 cacti in his greenhouse. He enjoyed music and traveled extensively with his wife throughout the United States.

Mr. Jurth shared fond memories of the couple’s visits to Chickasha and to her alma mater, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. In fact, he left a major portion of his estate to the USAO Foundation to establish a memorial to his wife, Florence Brown Jurth. He also left a collection of Mrs. Jurth’s paintings to the University.

Survivors include his longtime companion, Margaret Barnes Malval, of Ridgefield and several nieces and nephews.

Contributions in Mr. Jurth’s memory may be made to the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield CT 06877.

Services in Chickasha are being arranged by Sevier Funeral Home.