May 31, 1945 ~ April 24, 2018
The community of South Lake Tahoe lost a beloved member when Jean Gurney passed away on April 24, 2018. Like Lake Tahoe, Jean made people feel relaxed, elevated, and happy.
Jean was born on May 31, 1945 in Longview, Texas, to Viola and Frank Gurney. She spent her formative years in Massachusetts with her parents and sister Ann, and graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School in 1963.
In 1964, Jean moved to New York’s Greenwich Village, where she formed a singing group that performed regularly at Café Au Go Go. The group, dubbed the The Au Go Go Singers, toured the US and Canada. She then toured with The Serendipity Singers.
Jean fell in love with Tahoe and moved here in 1968, at age 23. A lover of animals, she worked at Stateline Animal Hospital as a veterinarian’s assistant for over a decade. She then co-founded Wilderness Studio, a photography business that employed 12 photographers—including Rick Gunn, Eric Jarvis, and others who would later become photojournalists.
Jean was an exceptional portrait photographer and great with people. She photographed countless couples getting married in Tahoe, and untold numbers of South Tahoe High School students celebrating their prom nights. She would later start Tahoe Digital Imaging and manage guest events at Embassy Suites.
Jean served on the board of Tahoe Youth and Family Services and was an active member of both the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe. She raised scholarship funds, lining up local restaurants for charity wine-tasting events and helping organize the American Century Golf Tournament.
An avid skydiver, Jean loved nothing more than falling through the air thousands of feet above the Sierra Nevada mountains, Tahoe laid out before her. The force of parachutes opening took its toll on her back over the years, but she still said, “It was worth it.”
Please join us for a Celebration of Life in loving memory of Jean Gurney on Saturday, May 12, 2-4 PM, at Flight Deck in the South Lake Tahoe Airport, 1901 Airport Rd. in South Lake Tahoe. CA.