William P. Hurney, aged 97, passed away peacefully on December 28, 2020, surrounded by his loving family and his beloved wife of 62 years, Edith “Edie” (Erickson) Hurney.
A longtime Needham resident, Bill was born in Newton, MA to the late Patrick J. Hurney and Margaret (Edwards) Hurney. Father of William W. Hurney (Michelle) of Grass Valley, CA, Douglas C. Hurney (Suzanne) of Millis, MA and Donna J. Walsh (Brian) of Millis, MA. Grandfather to Sven E. Hurney and Paola Wessinger of Grass Valley, CA, Maya S. Hurney and Benjamin P. Hurney of Millis, MA, Liam P. Walsh and Coleman P. Walsh of Millis, MA. Brother of Robert Hurney, CA, the late Peggy Lee of Scituate, MA, the late Patricia DeLancey of Raleigh, NC, the late John Hurney of CA and the late Barbara Hurney of Newton, MA.
Bill served in the US Army in World War II and was assigned to the 32nd crack “Red Arrow” Infantry Regiment and was awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal. He ran his own machine shop in Needham from 1959 - 1973 and then worked as a mechanical engineer at the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston from 1973 - 1988. During the Blizzard of ’78, Bill’s work helped a completely paralyzed patient communicate basic needs to the nurses in the ICU. The patient, a victim of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, spelled out his first words on a horizontal display using a pointer he controlled using minute movements with his chin. Another of Bill’s innovations was in the Deaconess Radiology Department where they used his improved femoral arteriogram table with a moveable top. He also made design improvements to a Lamson tube carrier, a cylindrical container, to carry IV solutions from the pharmacy to patient floors via pneumatic tubes, a gas scavenging hood for blood oxygenation, and an emergency door opener for the radiation treatment room. Bill also perfected the minuscule ring which is attached to the aorta during bypass surgery to aid in future fluoroscopic examinations. In addition to constructing 22 new devices for hospital use, he developed equipment for Joslin Laboratories, Overholt Thoracic Clinic, Lahey Clinic Department of Neuro-Surgery and the Shields-Warren Radiation Laboratory. He also devised a ventilating and drainage system for dialysis machines; his contributions to the Dialysis Unit were invaluable.
He was proud of all the additions he made to his home in Needham, including a barn he built at retirement so he could continue his mechanical skills. He also enjoyed spending time at his home in West Dennis, MA.
His family are forever grateful to the nurses and doctors at the BID-Needham Hospital who helped him over the last few years of his life.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill’s memory may be made to:
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, 148 Chestnut Street, Needham, MA 02492
Private services will be held for interment; however, a future memorial service will be announced once COVID restrictions are relaxed.