Gurley McGehee Maurin was born in 1939 and died Monday, April 5, 2021. She was the daughter of the late Edward (Ned) and Augusta Tucker McGehee and wife of the late William Elmer Maurin. She was a lifelong resident of Hammond. Her life had a positive impact in the community starting at age 12.
She taught children to swim at the Hammond City Natatorium where her father ran a free swimming program. She continued teaching swimming skills at several pools until she went to the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree and competed internationally in synchronized swimming. She was also a member of Kappa Delta Sorority.
After graduation, Gurley became a Home Advisor with the New Orleans Public Broadcasting Station and had a television program where she demonstrated cooking with the use of gas and electricity in the home. She became an educator and was awarded a Master of Education in Administration and Special Education and was also certified in Curriculum Design and School Leadership (Supervisor, Principal, and Superintendent). She was certified to teach five subjects. She taught in the Tangipahoa Parish School System and Holy Ghost Catholic School before taking a teaching post in the state of Alaska. She was named Outstanding Alaskan Educator for two consecutive years and retired from Alaska as an Associate Superintendent of Schools.
Gurley ran a private kindergarten in Hammond before kindergarten was offered in the Tangipahoa Parish School System. She sponsored summer camps with riding, swimming, arts and crafts, and games. While teaching at Hammond High School, she sponsored the Torettes, majorettes, and cheerleaders. She encouraged students to compete and participate in extracurricular activities to develop their skills, self-worth and confidence.
An accomplished seamstress, Gurley made cloaks for the Torettes, lap blankets for local nursing home residents, and the christening gown used by her grandchildren. She specialized in repairing heirloom linens for several churches. She owned and operated a needlecraft shop. Many Hammond residents won national awards as a result of her teachings and designs. She won top honors from The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, the American Needlepoint Guild, and Princess Grace’s Needlepoint Show in Monaco. Gurley’s monogrammed items were featured in several department stores in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Atlanta and New York. She taught needlepoint seminars at Elsa Williams School of Needle Art in West Townsend, Massachusetts.
Gurley loved to travel and became a travel agent, sponsoring many group trips for high school students. The students had the opportunity to experience the culture and activities of Mexico, the British Isles, Europe, and the Bahamas. She also led ski trips to Colorado and Utah.
Gurley and her husband, Billy, owned Maurin Angus Farm, which was listed on the National Farm Registry. She served as representative to the American Angus Auxiliary and wrote several articles for The American Angus Journal and The Louisiana Angus Cattleman.
Her philanthropic efforts were directed toward her church, Grace Memorial Episcopal Church of Hammond. Over the course of her life, she served three terms as a member of the Vestry, taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and was a founding member of the church’s Flower Guild. She helped restore the Grace Memorial Cemetery Gardens.
Others receiving her benefits include Southeastern Louisiana University and several local elementary and high schools. Upon retirement, Gurley was a substitute teacher. She authored two books and co-authored a third book with her son, Buck. She raised her beloved Great Pyrenees, Belle Fille, who became a Reserve Winner in the National Great Pyrenees Specialty Show in 2002.
Gurley’s influence is reflected in the success and happiness of all who knew and loved her. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Aurora Gurley and Patrick Silvernail, son and daughter-in-law Buckley William McGehee and Kay Maurin, granddaughter, Darby Katherine Maurin, and three grandsons, Michael Cade Trufant, Christopher William Trufant, and Harrison Buckley Maurin, one sister, Rosamond McGehee Posey, nephews, Webb Posey and Cutter Tricou, niece, Louise Posey Parra, and numerous great nieces and nephews.
She was proceeded in death by her brother, Edward McGehee.
Services will be held at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church and are private. The family wishes to thank nurses Shannon, Mary, and Joanne of Eagon Hospice and special caregiver Angie Pena for their loving care and support. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Grace Memorial Episcopal Church Foundation, 100 West Church Street, Hammond, Louisiana 70401.