By Gus G. Widmayer

In the coming year, I hope to present to readers a series of vignettes on the lives of Groton's notable and worthy souls who have worked to make our town great. We each appreciate them for their tireless contributions of time, land, funding or forethought. But who are they? It is no surprise that they are our friends and neighbors. We see them at their mailboxes, at Town Meeting, and in the produce aisle at Donelan's or Shaw's. They represent our living history; the here and now of our town, with a heavy dose of nostalgia. They are the character and spirit of Groton.

I met with Katherine Edwards (Rust) Hurd at her home on Skyfields Drive on March 25, 2011. I was greeted by her visiting nurse Florence and joined Mrs. Hurd in her living room overlooking the Boston Road below with an unimpeded view north to mountain peaks on the vista. Many will recognize her house as the one sitting high on a hill above Groton's Post Office and CVS Pharmacy. Katherine's father George A. Rust was a purchasing agent in Cambridge, Mass. for Tenney Company. Mr. Rust was an amateur mountain climber who was president of the Appalachian Mountain Club for two years. He helped that organization build some of its trail huts, using his purchasing expertise to buy the construction materials. The Rust family came from Gloucester, Mass., and Maine, with roots further back in England. George married Marion Luce (née Hersey).


The couple was in their mid-40s when their only child Katherine Edwards was born in 1925 at the old Groton Hospital, (now Donelan's supermarket). The family lived in Cambridge at Walker and Shepard streets and spent summers on a farm & orchard in North Shirley. Katherine attended the Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School until her father died in 1939 when her mother moved the two of them out to their Shirley farm. Katherine then attended Ayer High School for two years before transferring to Groton High School where she had to repeat her sophomore year. At that time, classes were held in the old Prescott building on Main Street. She was graduated with the Class of 1943.

Groton's Helen McCarthy, who today is 102 years old, taught Katherine's husband and his brother, the "Hurd twins" so-called in 4th or 5th grade, and known to Mrs. McCarthy as "holy terrors." Leon Hurd grew to marry his high-school sweetheart in 1946. They lived with Katherine's mother on Garrison Road in North Shirley until her death in about 1963.

To be continued.