Customers calling the Arthur J. Hurley Co. in Boston often sought the guidance of Drew Hurley, who was one of the founder's grandsons and vice president of sales. So many wanted to speak with him that the blinking switchboard lights sometimes resembled a pattern of jets circling Logan Airport.
Worth the wait, Mr. Hurley ensured that all the customers who bought electrical wire and cable from the company ended their phone calls believing their concerns were paramount. He had a lot of practice making people feel that way.
"No matter who you were, even if you met him for 10 minutes, he made you feel special," said his sister Janne Clare of Santa Monica, Calif. "If you were the guy working across the counter at CVS, he made you feel like you owned CVS. He'd talk with people and find out things to make those relationships special. He met people on such a natural, amazing level."
Mr. Hurley, who made sure everyone knew that the two most important people in his life were his wife and daughter, whom he always called "my girls," died of a heart attack Dec. 26 while on vacation with his family, visiting his sister in Kauai, Hawaii. He was 49 and lived in Boston.
At places like the University Club, where he played squash a few blocks from his Bay Village home, Mr. Hurley was regarded so fondly that he might be mistaken for a prince passing through his kingdom, but the reason for such reverence was that he treated everyone he met like royalty.
"He knew every employee's name before anyone else did," David Newton of Boston, a squash player who competed regularly with Mr. Hurley, wrote in an e-mail. "Chef, valet, locker room attendant -- called them all by name and treated everyone with respect."
And Mr. Hurley never let friends forget his particular affection for them, even if he was just giving someone a lift after a squash game.
"He would drive me home first," Newton wrote. "Every night his last words to me would be, 'Who loves you, Bro?' "
"Drew was just so generous and so loving all the time," said his sister Marisa, whom Mr. Hurley was visiting in Hawaii when he died. "He never got mad at anybody, he never raised his voice, and he would never leave the room without giving you a kiss and telling you that he loved you. He had such a warm spirit about him."
He also had a nickname for everyone. If a friend already had a moniker, Mr. Hurley would invent his own variation that became part of their unique bond.
Kyle Woodman, a fraternity brother from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., is Woody to most people, but "to him, I was 'Woodsie, Woodsie, Woodsie.' "
Those who knew Mr. Hurley from his days in Chi Psi had a name for him, too.
"He was just a genuinely good man," Woodman said. "I don't know one person in my life who's ever said a bad word about Dude. He was nicknamed Dude because he was such a cool guy."
Drew Stephen Hurley grew up in Lexington, where he graduated from Lexington High School in 1979 and lettered in hockey three times. His parents and siblings were in the stands watching him play and teammates became fixtures in the household.
He spent a post-graduate year at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., then went to Union College. A few months before graduating in 1985 with a bachelor's in history, he met Christine Fazzone.
"It was just love at first sight," she said. "He said, 'Why don't you come to Boston? There's lots of good schools there.' "
Mr. Hurley, meanwhile, went to work at the family business.
"He did everything from clean-up to working on the wire machines to delivery to working in the warehouse," said his brother, Arthur III of Charlestown. "He literally did everything to reach the position he was in, and then he became our premier sales person. He took more calls every day than anyone and the following he had was amazing."
Despite Mr. Hurley's dedication to work, though, "when it was time for his family, he left," his brother said.
The same was true in the evening at the University Club, where Mr. Hurley would grab a Bud Light after an always-vigorous game.
"And at 7:30, he'd always say, 'I've got to get home to my girls,' " Newton said.
"That's what we were, his girls," Mr. Hurley's wife said. "Our daughter, Casey, was really the sunshine of his life and she was 'Casey girl' -- he always called her Casey girl.
Everybody knew that we were the girls. He never left home in the morning without saying 'I love you' to me and to Casey, and every night when he walked in the door he had a smile on his face and was excited to be home."
Given Mr. Hurley's passion for competitive squash, no one was surprised that "he was teaching Casey how to play," his wife said. "They had a court every Saturday morning and she was becoming a good little squash player. Casey told me she had to continue playing and become a champion squash player because she knew daddy was watching from heaven."
In addition to his wife, daughter, two sisters, and brother, Mr. Hurley leaves his parents, Arthur Jr. and Marybeth (O'Keefe) of Lexington; another brother, Matthew of Boston; and two other sisters, Jill of Lexington and Lara of Boston.
A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Our Lady of Victories Church in Boston. Burial will be in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.
As cards and letters arrived after Mr. Hurley died, his family noticed a common theme.
"All the letters ended, 'Drew was my best friend,' " Janne said. "We were laughing and saying wait until they all get together and find out they were all his best friend. Drew had 50 best friends. How many people can say that?"
Bryan Marquard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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