Eunice Brown Gourley, 97, died Monday, October 28 in Manchester.
A first generation American and lifelong resident of Manchester, Eunice was a proud member of MHS’s class of 1940 and could give a creditable rendition of her alma mater’s song late into life. She was married for 58 years to the love of her life and partner in all things, W.J. Godfrey (Zeke) Gourley. Eunice worked for Marlow’s Department Store, Aetna Life, Professional Management Consultants (Zeke’s firm), and finally for the Hartford Marathon Foundation. She also held down a second, full-time, and nearly lifetime career as caretaker to her children, then her mother, and then her husband.
Eunice’s care was shown not by flashy displays or overt statements but by many small things: packed school lunches that were the envy of classmates; lessons in shoe tying for her grandchildren; acts of kindness and acceptance for all of her children’s mates; a perfectly brewed cuppa tea; a perfectly baked sugar and spice cookie.
Eunice and Zeke traveled extensively in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and other far-flung places. In later years, when she was unable to travel, Eunice reveled in these memories in gratitude and without regret. Following Zeke’s death, Eunice embarked on this next phase of her life with her customary consistency and grace but with heightened independence, humor, and appreciation. The most apt tribute to her was the devoted care she inspired and graciously allowed her family to provide to her over her final years. Her legacy is the warm embrace of family she and Zeke created and nurtured.
Eunice will be greatly missed by her children - David Gourley and his wife Gloria Gourley of Norfolk; Beth Shluger and her husband Ken Shluger of Waterford; Peter Gourley and his wife Ruth Ann Woodley of Bloomfield; and daughter-in-law Joanne Gourley of Manchester - as well as by her grandchildren David and Olivia Shluger and Michael, Steven, and Megan Gourley.
Private funeral arrangements will be at the convenience of the family. Those wishing to honor Eunice may make a memorial contribution to either Meals on Wheels (www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org) or the NICU Endowed Family Support Fund at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (connecticutchildrensfoundation.org/jackson-family/).
To send flowers to Eunice's family, please visit our floral section.