Marcus Bert Justin Hurn
October 27, 1952 – February 11, 2021
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Marcus Hurn, 68. He passed away peacefully at his home in Concord, NH. He spent his summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
In his own words: “I grew up in the Missouri Ozarks, a culture then still showing the better traces of feudalism and anarchy. After teaching law and practicing in Kansas City, I spent a year as a graduate fellow at Yale. Then I came [to NH], happily avoiding the pedantry, status obsessions and bureaucracy of the general run of law schools.”
For over 40 years, he taught at least 18 different courses and thousands of students at UNH Franklin Pierce Law in Concord. Professor Hurn taught a diverse group of courses that rely on different areas of substantive expertise. Contracts, contract design, property, administrative process and business associations are among the courses that he regularly taught. He lectured in the Daniel Webster Scholar mini-series on conflicts of law, negotiable instruments, and secured transactions. These lectures have been instrumental in helping DWS students prepare to practice in New Hampshire.
He was the consummate law professor, in his three-piece suit and bow tie with the cascading questioning of a true Socratic scholar. His genius in the classroom was his intricate knowledge of just about all legal history and how the various legal fields all fit together. Professor Hurn would take his students on a journey through the ages and leave them with knowledge of how law developed historically and worked practically.
Professor Hurn was an expert in New Hampshire jurisprudence. He focused on the New Hampshire Constitution and its taxing provisions as well as in aspects of real property. Legislators and community organizations actively sought Professor Hurn’s expertise on drafting legislation, analyzing proposed legislation, and reviewing legal developments affecting the authority and scope of sitting legislative committees and development of New Hampshire’s unique legal landscape.
All his contributions in the legislative arena are too numerous to mention, but he was particularly proud of his work on civil rights issues for the gay and lesbian community. He was involved with the formation of the Citizen’s Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Rights and was actively involved in the passage of NH Hate crimes legislation, and the creation of Civil Unions which lead to marriage for same sex couples. He was boastful that New Hampshire was the first state to adopt same sex marriage without seeking or receiving a mandate from a Court, a feat which would not likely have happened without his contributions. He was equally active on legislation involving business interests. He helped draft the original New Hampshire LLC statute. Professor Hurn was regularly contacted by reporters and frequently quoted in print and electronic media, including several about New Hampshire’s Northern Pass power line controversy and its relevance to private easements, additional uses of highway easements, and eminent domain.
In 2017, Professor Hurn was the faculty recipient of UNH’s Kidder Award. It is awarded to a faculty member who, through scholarship, leadership, or outstanding efforts, fosters greater understanding of sexual orientation and gender expression at the University of New Hampshire. Professor Hurn remained an active member of the New Hampshire Bar. He worked with many lawyers on challenging claims. Of note, he worked with Masry & Vititoe and its famous environmental activist, Erin Brockovich, on a 128-plaintiff toxic waste lawsuit in NH, and was proud of a mortgage note he wrote on a geo-stationary satellite--both highly complex cases involving jurisdictional and substantive legal issues.
Marcus was a voracious reader, as anyone fortunate enough to have spent time with him knew; his home had floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with myriad books--more than many people read in a lifetime. Always quick with a conversation at his favorite cigar bar--Castro’s--he would, much like a philosopher in Athens, hold court with whomever approached him to talk about his many varied interests (which went far beyond Law, and ran the gamut from bonobo chimpanzees to the history of the kings of England and Scotland). He treated all comers as equal participants in an exchange of ideas, aware that every conversation was as much an opportunity to learn as it was to teach.
In many ways, Marcus identified with the underdog. He was the patron saint of lost causes, which many of his former students can confirm. He has touched more lives in 68 years than most will in 100. And for that, we are grateful. He dedicated his life to service to the law, to his students, and to his friends. Marcus will be missed.
He is survived by his father Bert Hurn, brother Ashley Hurn, and niece Danielle.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Professor Hurn at www.unh.edu/give/law select Marcus Hurn Scholarship Fund or make a check payable to: UNH Law Professor Marcus Hurn Scholarship UNH Foundation 15 Strafford Avenue Durham, NH 03824.
Memorial services are anticipated for May at UNH Law and in August in Provincetown MA.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Marcus Bert Justin Hurn
February 23, 2021
Marcus was a man who built lifelong friendships and always had the Highest Good on his side.
February 20, 2021
He made a difference in my life and in the lives of so many people. Rest In Peace Marcus.
February 17, 2021
Marcus was truly a devoted professor to his students and one of the greatest legal minds in New Hampshire. 90 percent three piece suit and bow tie and the rare ten percent cut off jeans and flip flops. If you got to know both, then you are richer for it. Rest in peace dear Marcus.