Obituary: Henry F. Gurney

W HITEHALL – Henry F. Gurney, 94, of Whitehall, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at Slate Valley Nursing  Home in Granville on August 22, 2019.

Henry was born on March 24, 1925 in Whitehall, son of Henry G. and Agnes O’Neil Gurney.  His father and stepmother, Sarah Hoy Gurney, raised him from age 5.

Henry graduated from Whitehall High School in 1943.

Henry served in the U.S. Army in the 2nd and 104th Division in Europe in World War II.  He went ashore on Omaha Beach in the Battle of Normandy on D-Day Plus One.  He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster; Combat Infantry Badge; European Theater Medal for 4 campaigns (Normandy, Northern France, Belgium, and Germany); Victory Medal; Good Conduct Medal; and NYS Conspicuous Service Cross.


Henry retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1985 after 38 years of Federal service.

He married his wife, Lorraine Beckwith Gurney on September 9, 1950, officiated by Reverend Connelly at Our Lady of Angels Church.

He attended Adirondack Community College, completing courses in insurance brokerage and real estate in 1951 and operated the H.F. Gurney Insurance Agency from 1951-1976.

Henry was a member of Our Lady of Angels/Our Lady of Hope Church and served as an usher and member of the working com

mittee at OLA; he was a former president of the Whitehall Little League; a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 20 years, serving as president from 1981-83 and was awarded lifetime membership in 2003; a member of Knights of Columbus Council Number 276 and Fourth Degree St. Isaac Jogues Assembly in Ticonderoga.

Henry joined Whitehall Post 83 American Legion in January 1946.  He served as Post Commander, Washington County Commander, 4th District Commander, Department Vice Commander, and National Vice Chairman of the Americanism Council.  He served on the Board of Directors of the American Legion Boys State of New York, Inc. for 35 ye

ars.  Awards include: Legionnaire of the Year by Whitehall Post 83 in 1980-81 and 2019-20; Certificate of Recognition at his testimonial celebration in January 1999; Sons of the Legion Recognition Award for 74 Years of Distinguished Service in 2019; Washington County and District Legionnaire of the Year in 2019-20.  He was inducted into the NYS Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame by Senator Betty Little in May 2019.  At the time of his death, he was Chaplain Emeritus of Whitehall Post 83 and the Washington County American Legion.  Henry had continuous service as an American Legion officer since 1946.  He was a past Chef DeGare of Voiture No. 1224 Washington County 40 & 8.  He served as correspondent to four district cheminots and secretary for two New York State Conventions.  He served as the Nurses Training Committee Chairman.

Henry and Lorraine enjoyed a loving relationship for 55 years and were the parents of nine children.  Lorraine passed away in November 2005.  In addition to his wife and parents, he was predeceased by his brother, Alfred Gurney; two sons, Timothy and Paul, who died as infants; two grandchildren, Joy L. Ellerson and Levi B. Bromley; and his son-in-law, John Bromley.  He is survived by his sister Elsie Paris, of Hudson Falls; two sons, Gary Gurney (Mary) of Coeyman’s Hollow;  Richard Gurney, of Granville; and five daughters, Mary Ann Kivlen (Mike) of Selkirk; Joan Diekel (Bob) of Whitehall; Kathy Gurney, of Albany; Beth Ellerson (Rick), of Homer; and Gail Cook (Bob), of Henrietta; 13 grandchildren; 10 great granddaughters and his first great grandson, to be named Henry, is due in September;  special long-time companion Anne Murray, of Hudson Falls; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Catherine and Robert McPhee, of Whitehall; and Canadian cousins Lorraine and Louise Caza, Elizabeth Comeau and her husband Bob.

Calling hours will be held from 2:00 – 6:00 pm, on Sunday, August 25, at the former Armory, 62 Poultney Street, Whitehall, NY.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Father Michael Flannery at 2:00 pm, on Monday, August 26, at Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, 48 Skene Street, Whitehall, NY.

Burial will follow at Our Lady of Angels Cemetery, Route 18, Whitehall, NY.

Whitehall American Legion Post 83 will conduct a Legionnaire service at 5:45pm.

Memorial Fund donations in Henry’s name may be made to American Legion Post 83, 148 Main Street, Whitehall, NY 12887; or The National D-Day Memorial, 3 Overlord Circle, Bedford, VA  24523 or online at

Arrangements are under the care of the Jillson Funeral Home Inc., 46 Williams Street, Whitehall, NY.

Online condolences may be made at




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