Evelyn Marie Gurney passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 26, 2019, at the age of 94. Evelyn was born to Harry Edward Dabadie and Evelyn “Eva” Leann (App) Dabadie, founding members of the Jamestown Methodist Church.
After high school, she moved to Stockton where she entered into the wartime workforce at the Port of Stockton’s Army Supply Depot. While at a train station she ran into an old classmate, Frank Gurney, who was on his second World War II assignment. They wrote love letters to each other throughout the years and, on April 14, 1946, they were married on the 100th anniversary of the Donner Party’s departure to the west. They spent 68 years creating their love story and raising their family.
Though proud of her Donner Party heritage, Evelyn seldom spoke of it beyond a circle of family and close friends. She wished to honor her ancestors by realizing their dream of a bountiful life, looking beyond their difficult beginnings, and did just that by using her pride in her family, strength in herself and her own skills to create a beautiful home for her family.
Over the years she perfected her seamstress skills and made clothes for herself, her family and even items for their home.
Evelyn is survived by her two children, Linda (Gurney) Gandolfo and her husband, Robert, and Ralph Gurney and his wife, Carolyn; her three grandchildren, Michael Whitt and his wife, Delia, Denise (Whitt) Powell, and Erin Gandolfo-Brune and her husband, Joseph; her five great-grandchildren, Angela Anderson, Lori (Anderson) McWilliams, Klayton Powell, Aeva Powell and Jackson Brune; and two great-great-grandchildren, Abigail and Mason McWilliams. She also leaves behind her adoring caregivers, Ellen, Jo, Sally and Leslie; and lifelong friend, Evelyn Noone.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Frank Gurney; her parents, Harry and Eva Dabadie; and her brother, Eugene “Snooks” Dabadie and his wife, Joan.
A ceremony honoring Evelyn’s life will be held at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home, 225 E. Rose Street, at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4. Interment and graveside service will follow at Jamestown City Cemetery. The family welcomes loved ones to join in a reception at the Sonora Elks Lodge at 100 Elk Drive in Sonora following the services. In Evelyn’s memory, donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or charity of their choice.