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Obituaries for the week of Jan. 3, 2019

Published on: January 2, 2019

Joan McGee Ambrose

Joan McGee Ambrose, Sun City Center, Fla., formerly of Orange, Conn., passed away on Dec. 25, 2018. She was predeceased by her husband William and sister Constance Rossignol. A graduate of John Baptist High School and Beal Business College, she was a secretary and teller at banks in Maine and Connecticut.
Joan was a proud 30-year volunteer on the Sun City Center Emergency Squad, and she loved working with her Emergency Squad family. She also enjoyed working with her friends and Nettie in the Estate Sales business. She was a member of the Computer Club, an avid reader, enjoyed bridge and many crafts.
She is survived by her sons John and wife Patricia of West Haven, Conn., Michael and wife Susan of Amelia Courthouse, Va. Also surviving her are grandchildren Jaclyn and husband Erik Bouchard of Wallingford, Conn., Kathryn and husband John Koontz of West Haven, Conn., and John and William Ambrose of Amelia Courthouse, Va. Joan was “Great Grammie” to four great-grandchildren, Grady and Patryk Bouchard and Alyssa and Kayla Koontz. Joan will be dearly missed by her family and all who knew her.
The family would like to thank her many friends in Sun City Center who helped her maintain the independent life that she cherished so much. Without you this wouldn’t have been possible. We would also like to thank the medical staff that cared for her in her time of need. Services will be private, and she will be buried with her husband at Bushnell National Cemetery. A memorial service given by the Sun City Center Emergency Squad will be held on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, at 1 p.m. at the SCC Area Chamber of Commerce. In lieu of flowers, Joan requested donations to be made to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad.


Rabbi Philip Michael Aronson

On Dec. 26, 2018, Rabbi Philip Michael Aronson passed away. He was the beloved husband of Jean; loving father of Shayna Singer (Jonathan) and Stacey Herndon (Chip); cherished “Ada” of Zachary (12), Joshua (8) and Zoey (3). He is also survived by cousins William and Mary Beth Goldman and Lisa Goldman.

Services were held on Friday, Dec. 28, at Beth Israel Jewish Congregation of Sun City Center with interment in Star of David Cemetery of the Palm Beaches. In lieu of flowers, family requests donations in Phil’s name be directed to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or Beth Israel Jewish Congregation of Sun City Center. 


Elizabeth ‘Betty’ June Gurley

Elizabeth “Betty” June Gurley, beloved by many, died peacefully surrounded by her family on December 19, 2018, at the age of 99. Wherever she went, she left joy, laughter and love in her wake. She was the wife of the late Rev. Dr. James L. Gurley.

Born in Monroe, Indiana, into a close Mennonite community, she was the only daughter of the late Robert and Rhoda (Leichty) Sprunger, along with seven brothers, all of whom called her the queen of the family. She grew up in Berne, Indiana, proud of her Swiss heritage, loving God and wanting to serve Him and those around her. In her childhood she was a tomboy playing baseball with her brothers (because they would not play dolls with her), learning to sew, play the piano and excelling in her schoolwork.

Becoming a teacher was her dream. There was not enough money for that in her family, but they scraped together the $70 for nursing school and she graduated from Fort Wayne Lutheran School of Nursing in 1944. One day in church James L. Gurley noticed her, having just been ordained a Baptist minister. He wooed and won her, and they married on December 31, 1945. At this time she decided to become a Baptist so that she could support Jim in his work. They were privileged to minister churches in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.  

As a minister’s wife, Betty was devoted to her vocation in the church. She was a Sunday school teacher, part of the choir, greeter and a lay leader within the missionary groups and the Bible studies. In these roles she excelled, because of her true love for the people and for her Lord. She was the one who remembered each person’s name, welcomed them in, listened to their problems and created connections. In one of the churches they served, the head of the deacons’ board said that “Betty was Jim’s best asset.”

Betty and Jim had four children: Janet, Joan, Jamie and John.  Each Sunday morning one could hear her marching across the foyer, calling their names for breakfast, urging them to get ready for church. Raising children brought her great joy — as well as the attendant problems that every family encounters. In homemaking, shifts of nursing and her role as a minister’s wife, she earned the moniker of White Tornado, cooking delicious meals, wearing her white uniform with starched hat, sewing dresses for her daughters, getting her children to school and church, and trying to make sure they behaved as all preacher’s kids should — perfectly. Of course, this was an impossible task, even for Betty and her husband Jim.

However, she did train them well, as each of them took on aspects of her incredible work ethic and desire to serve others. And they became perfectly imperfect, creating success in whatever roles they took on.

Betty and Jim became snowbirds and spent six months of every year in Sun City Center, Florida, very active in their community there and in Ann Arbor. In these years as the White Tornado, she became a quilter, and earned another moniker, Betty the Boomer, because of the way she could hit a golf ball. And, as each of her grandchildren graduated high school, she presented them with a handmade quilt that was a work of art.

She and Jim were married for 65 years. After his death she continued her ministry serving others no matter where she found herself.  She moved to Colonial Gardens in Beverly when she was 93, and there made another best friend, Gerry Haley. They held hands at every meal and created joy for their community. When she moved to memory care in Seasons of Danvers, she continued to reach out to others, particularly her caregivers, who cried as they said goodbye to her, because of what she gave to them.

She is survived by her children, all recipients and returners of her love, Janet L. Gurley Booker and her husband Wayne; Joan B. McGivern and her husbandMichael; James R. Gurley and his wife Sara Strebe; and John M. Gurley and his wife Leslie F.; 11 grandchildren, Michelle McGivern, Meghan Munro, Molly Gurley-Broudo, Margot Marcou, Emma Gurley-Broudo, Kiersten Gurley, James G. Gurley, Katherine Gurley, Benjamin Gurley, Alison Gurley, Hannah Gurley; six great-grandchildren, Aiofe Tykulsky, Isla Tykulsky, Ella Jade Gurley, Gabriel Gurley, De’Andre Hall, McCarty Munro and a step-grandson, Josh Zierler-Broudo. She was predeceased by her six brothers, Donald, Edgar, Eugene, John, Roy and Sam Sprunger.

A Memorial Service was held for Betty at the Emmanuel Chapel, 24 Masconomo Street, Manchester by the Sea on Saturday, Dec. 22, Arrangements by the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly. Donations can be made in her memory to Seasons of Danvers Associates Fund, 44 Summer Street, Danvers, MA 01923. Information and condolences at


Olive R. Hopkins

Olive R. Hopkins, 94, beloved wife and mother, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Olive was born on Nov. 4, 1924, in Augusta, Maine. She is survived by her husband Lee. They were happily married for 72 years. Olive is also survived by two daughters: Jane, Kathy and her husband Jack; and a son Tom and his wife Donna. She has three grandchildren: Brian, Sarah and Kylie; and four great-grandchildren: Olive, Daniel, Zachery and Aiden. 

After marrying Lee on April 20, 1946, they spent many years raising their family in the Springfield, Mass. and Hartford, Conn. areas. She was always very active in her church and loved knitting, sewing, counted cross stitch and other crafts. She also always loved her kitty cats. After retirement they settled on the waterfront in Westport, Mass., where they had many years enjoying the beach, ocean and wonderful friends. For the last 20 years she has resided in Sun City Center, Fla., enjoying her family, church, good friends and of course her beloved kitty. Olive will be cremated with a private graveside service at a later date in Westport, Mass.


Bryant L. Kirby

Bryant L. Kirby passed away on Dec. 22 at Belvedere Commons,  Sun City Center, Fla. He was born on Feb. 19, 1920, in Lowell, Mass. Bryant served during World War II as a B25 pilot flying 49 combat missions in Europe. He retired from New England Telephone after a 40-year career. Bryant was an excellent and avid golfer.   He is predeceased by his wife of 53 years, June (McElroy) Kirby. 

Before living in Sun City Center, June and Bryant lived in Danvers, Mass., for more than 25 years, where they raised their daughter Candice. 

Bryant is survived by his daughter Candice and her husband Richard MacNeil, and a grandson Jeffrey. He will be buried in Danvers, Mass. Donations in Bryant’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.


Charles Wendell Talcott

Charles Wendell Talcott of Sun City Center died on Dec. 20, 2018, surrounded by his loving wife Catherine (Kitty) and his children.

Born Sept. 26, 1925 in West Medford, Mass., to LeRoy and Grace (Turner) Talcott. After loyally serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, World War II, and graduation from the University of Massachusetts, he moved to Detroit, Mich., and met the love of his life. Charles and Catherine (Spala) Talcott married on Oct. 4, 1952. Their marriage of 66 years was one of deeply devoted love and joy. He leaves her and their three children: Jeff (Denise), Rebecca (Stu) Cooper, and Bill (Sue), along with grandchildren Elizabeth Barbee, Duncan (Jessie) Cooper, Connor (Kelsey) Cooper, and Joshua Talcott, and two great-grandchildren – to sadly mourn his loss. The Talcott family icon will also be greatly missed by many nieces, nephews and other family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings.

Though not large in stature, Wendy was a giant of a man to those who knew and loved him. An astute businessman, he was loved and respected by those who worked for and with him. His wise counsel, immense generosity, and great love of mankind made a mark that will endure. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Sun City Center Emergency Squad or LifePath Hospice, whose care was greatly appreciated.

A private memorial service is planned.