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Kenneth Paul Gourley

Sturgis, SD

1935, District Headquarters, Ft. Meade Replacement Section

RAPID CITY - Kenneth Paul Gourley, 93, Rapid City, died at a local nursing home of complications from congestive heart failure, Tuesday, May 27, 2008.

He was born at the Faith Hotel in Faith, SD on May 27, 1915, after his mother caught a ride with the mailman from their farm. He was the first child of Arthur Gourley and Laura (Nicolaisen) Gourley. He attended country school in Faith through the eigth grade when he left school to take his fathers place working the farm until his family moved into Sturgis, SD in 1931. He worked for the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) until he joined the 109th Engineers (National Guard) in 1933. He was activated in the Army, February 10, 1941 and was sent oversees early in 1942. He was captured by the Germans on February 17, 1943 on Kasserine Pass in southern Tunisia. He was a prisoner of war for 2 years and 2 months in several prison camps in Germany and was liberated on April 13, 1945. On Friday, September 13th, 1946 he was united in marriage to Hazel Marie Dunwoody in Pierre, SD. The couple moved to the Black Hills area where Kenneth worked on building Pactola Dam. The couple purchased land west of Rapid City in 1954 where they lived for 51 years until moving into Rapid City to assisted living in 2005. Kenneth worked as a civilian in base supply at Ellsworth Air Force Base until retirement in 1978. Kenneth and Hazel also managed the Presbyterian Church Camp outside of Rapid City for 12 years as well as donating countless hours volunteering to assist the veterans at Ft. Meade. Kenneth was a charter member of Big Bend Presbyterian Church, a Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans, DAV Trench Rats, a member of the Black Hills Century Chapter of Ex-Prisoners of War, and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He is survived by his children, one son, Dennis Gourley and his wife, Kathy, of Salem; two daughters, Paula Gourley Fairbank and her husband David of Beloit, WI and Betty Gourley Piperato and her husband, Jim of Westminster, CO; six grandchildren, Laura Fairbank, of Wauwatoosi, WI, Lisa Lewis of Madison, WI, Meredith Gourley of Mesa, AZ, Meganne Gourley of Mesa, AZ, Adrienne Clegg and her husband, Phil of Orem, UT and Tim Fairbank of LaCrosse, WI and 2 great grandchildren Andrea Fairbank and Avery Clegg.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his loving wife, Hazel, his sister Katherine Davis and her husband Wallace.

Visitation will be from 5 until 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 5, at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home.

The funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Friday, June 6, at the funeral home with Rev. Robert Savot officiating.

Interment, with military honors, will be at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

A memorial has been established to Disabled American Veterans and Big Bend Presbyterian Church.

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