Feb. 13, 1937 - Dec. 25, 2011
Born in Lebanon, Oregon, in 1937, Garrold M. Gary Gurnsey would live in various west coast cities in the U.S., travel across the U.S. and worldwide, and eventually return to Central Oregon, at least part time. In between was a life lived with integrity, drive and success and filled with friends and family.
Son of Earl C. and Arvella J. Gurnsey, Gary would attend grade school in Tumalo and graduate from Redmond Union High School. Typical of the area and the time, his youth was spent involved with farming and agricultural pursuits, including raising of pigs and a namesake Guernsey calf as part of 4-H. He also participated in Junior Rodeo. He played football, ran hurdles in track and played baseball in high school.
During high school, he worked at local Piggly Wiggly and Safeway markets in Redmond. Summers were spent working for Brooks Scanlon; one summer setting railroad ties near the same Black Butte Ranch where he would later live and play golf. He would ride the train over the highway between the ranch and Sisters that connected the logging areas to the mill. The route travelled over a trestle that stood near the Ranch until just a few years ago.
After a semester at Central Oregon Community College, Gary joined the Air Force, serving his country for four years, training in San Diego at the U.S. Naval Hospital as a medic. He spent a year on the Korean peninsula before returning stateside and three years in Spokane, Washington, at Geiger Field.
Working in the finance industry afterwards, he attended Whitworth College and Eastern Washington. He would transfer back to Oregon for Commercial Credit, working in offices in Salem, halfway between his eventual homes in Portland and Black Butte. It was after joining U.S. Bank that, he was transferred to Portland as a loan officer.
In 1969, he left to join Bankers Life, beginning his long career in insurance. In 1979, he would leave Bankers Life to join Minnesota Mutual. His successes were recognized by both companies, as he would regularly earn top honors, and attend conventions all across the U.S. with Bankers Life, and eventually in Europe three times with Minnesota Mutual.
His business successes are probably well known to the friends and business associates he knew later, but his hard work and ethics were learned during his youth and upbringing in the Central Oregon area where be grew up. And while he sold his business and office in Portland, he was still active with a limited and select number of clients up until the time of his passing.
Away from work, Gary enjoyed photography, taking his camera with him on every business convention.
Racks of slides remain as testament to places he has been and photographed. He also enjoyed skiing in younger days. In the 1970s and early 1980s, he enjoyed boating with his family, and salmon fishing in the Pacific Ocean, near the mouth of the Columbia River.
An avid golfer, he was a regular on the course at Black Butte Ranch, and enjoyed walking the fairway in the evenings, amassing a sizable collection of "lost" golf balls. Less well known was his love of leather tooling, as he had an extensive collection of tools, and enjoyed making items for his use, and for his family and friends. He is remembered by his family; wife, Sally, son, Matt, and daughters, Lisa and Tiffany; his brother, Ronald, sister, Valerie; nieces and nephews; as well as all those who knew and were touched by him.
A celebration of life will be held at Black Butte Ranch, Brooks Room, June 2, 2012, from 1 - 3 p.m.