John Kelly Hurd
"Johnny Bear"
30 Years Old

January 18, 1972 to December 27, 2002

John was a gentle person with sparkling blue eyes and a mischievous smile. He was a sensitive, caring young man that everyone depended upon. He loved practical jokes and his smile was warm. He was always ready to give or get a hug. That is how he got the nickname Johnny Bear.

As a toddler he was curious about how things worked. John was often covered in grease and dirt from helping to repair a mower, car or tractor. Over the years there wasn’t an engine he couldn’t fix.

Despite learning and hearing problems, he excelled in building trades and welding in school. When a family member looks in their home, there is a reminder of John’s flawless and beautiful work.

In 1992 he fell almost 40 feet through a skylight onto a gym floor. It was a fall that seemed impossible to survive. But the angels must have been with him that day. He did suffer back problems in the years after, but he never allowed it to dampen his spirit or keep him from being there for anyone who needed him. John was very precise in his skills and took great pride in what he did, even when it was difficult or painful.

John’s passions were motorcycles and Nintendo. But his heart belonged to his blind, rescued Pekingese, Winston. After his dog suffered a back injury, John spent hours working with him until Winston could run and play again. The vet had given up, but John would not. It is years later now and Winston is still getting along, healed with John’s love, patience and constant attention.

He loved to cook and made lasagna from his own secret recipe that was much requested. John loved his grandmother’s made from scratch chocolate cake, every Christmas he had to have one of his very own.

John was the kind of guy that was always there when you needed him. Whether it was to build a shed, wire lights, fix a wall or repair an engine, he was the person we all called.

If anyone needed a laugh, a shoulder to cry on or an understanding soul to talk to, John was the one we turned to. He truly cared and always remembered what was important to all of us.

John was the baby of the family. He leaves behind a sister, Lee Ann, brothers, Bobby and George and his parents, James and Peggy Rider. No amount of time will ever heal our hearts or dry our tears. There will always be an empty seat at our table. Everywhere we go and in everything we do, there are memories of him. He was taken from us too soon. Our memories and tears are all we have left of our very special, funny and loving “Johnny Bear.”


John Kelly Hurd died on the night of December 27, 2002, from a gunshot to the head. To date, his murder is unsolved and the murderer is free and living in the Dearborn County, Indiana area.

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John Kelly Hurd