Kevin M. Hurley, senior production director for Penske Media Corp., parent of WWD, died on Wednesday at his home in Cornwall, N.Y., after a 14-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 54.
Hurley was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and attended Washingtonville High School followed by Manhattan College, where he graduated in 1991.
His first job was at Fairchild Publications in 1992 where he worked in production, as a manager, director or senior director for several of the publications in the PMC portfolio including WWD, Footwear News, Beauty Inc., Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and Rivet.
“Production never gets the credit it deserves since, at its best, it is invisible,” said James Fallon, editorial director of Fairchild Media Group. “The publication just appears as if by magic. And Kevin was the consummate magician. No matter the size of the issue, or the challenges involved in getting it from point A to point B, Kevin effortlessly and diligently performed miracles. There was no drama, no complaint and no bad temper, no matter how late editorial got the stories and photos to the plant — and they were almost always late. Stay until 3 a.m. to make sure the issues got out OK? Sure. Wrestle with the printer to stretch the deadline as late as possible? No problem. Drive through a snowstorm to New Jersey to ensure the issues of WWD were distributed? Absolutely.
“To say he was professional is like saying the sun comes up each day. He was a paragon of dependability and good humor, and he will be immensely missed.”
Peter Sadera, editor of Sourcing Journal, another Fairchild publication, said, “Looking back on the more than 20 years I worked with Kevin, it’s hard to picture any interaction without a smile on his face. In the time before 24-hour connectivity, he was one of the few on call at 4 a.m. on a Sunday to troubleshoot the latest issue, and he always came through. Easy to talk to, easy to work with and one of a kind. His passing leaves a sadness for many.”
Joni Antonacci, vice president of production operations for PMC, said, “Kevin’s professionalism, great eye for detail and his out-of-the-box approach to solving problems made him the first person to pop to mind when there was a crisis. There was never a job or request too small for Kevin. If you felt nervous and needed help, he had the ability to walk into a room and talk to you like he’d always known you. He put you at ease, earned your respect and became a friend that you never expected. His smile, his horrible and wonderful puns, and his laughter will be greatly missed.”
Hurley met his wife, Liz, at Manhattan College; they were married for 26 years and lived in the Bronx for more than 16 years before moving to Cornwall 18 years ago. The couple has two sons: Owen, 20, and Andrew, 11.
When not answering panicked calls from editors, Hurley enjoyed the outdoors: hiking, kayaking, geo-cashing and long walks with Zoey, his Great Pyrenees. He took great pride in landscaping his home and his ability to fix anything; cars, computers or things around the house, according to his wife.
“A lifelong Yankee fan, he shared that love with family and friends. He logged more hours than anybody watching Motor Trend channel and loved old cars. He told the best or worst Dad jokes, depending on who you asked. Kevin was your man if you need anything researched. He was always a phone call away if anyone needed anything. We know that is how he would want to be remembered,” she said.
In addition to his wife and sons, Hurley is survived by his sisters, Kerry Dineen (husband Patrick) and Deirdre Ennis; his father-in-law Alfred Wassler and his wife Patti; brothers-in-law Kevin and Tim Wassler and their wives Carrie and Dana, and sister-in-law Emily Wassler. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Connor, Rory and Brogan Dineen; Meaghan and Mackenzie Ennis; Kaitlyn, Sarah and Jack Wassler, Reese Wassler and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
“He will also be remembered by his very large group of friends and coworkers, who provided unwavering support and strength during his courageous battle,” his wife said. He was predeceased by his parents John and Elizabeth, his mother-in-law, Mary Wassler, and his brother-in-law, James Ennis.
The family said donations in Hurley’s name could be made to the Hospice of Orange and Sullivan, or the Lustgarten Foundation.