Hazel Belle Gurnsey
Hazel Belle Gurnsey passed away Saturday, May 4, at the age of 96 at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.
She was born April 19, 1923, in Chandlerville to James and Mary (McClure) Colston. She grew up with her parents, three brothers and a cousin in the rural areas of Chandlerville and Virginia.
She married James Eugene Gurnsey on June 14, 1941, and they made their home in rural Chandlerville. In 1972, she and James moved to Lake Petersburg and remained in the Petersburg and Springfield area the remainder of her life.
She is survived by two children, Sheila (Charles) Burton of Rushville and Wayne (Trish) Gurnsey of Petersburg; three grandchildren, Aaron (Katie) Gurnsey of Petersburg, Melissa (John) Heil of Germantown Hills, Ill., and Neil (Janelle) Gurnsey of Petersburg; seven great-grandchildren, Jack and Savannah Gurnsey, Audrey, Trevor and Thomas Heil, and Willa and Gwyn Gurnsey. She is also survived by a brother, Raymond (Neda) Colston of Rushville.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband James, a grandson, Sam Taylor, two brothers, Franklin Colston and Russell Colston, and a special cousin, James Coats.
Hazel was a farm wife and mother. She and James lived on a farm southeast of Chandlerville until the electric company, Commonwealth Edison, bought their farm and many others in the area to build a future power plant. In 1972, they moved to Lake Petersburg but continued farming for many years. She spent many hours helping James in the fields with livestock, and running Sheila and Wayne to their many sport and school activities. She made lots of meals for James and the farm hands and many times packed them up and took the meals to the field so they wouldn’t have to stop long. She was also known for her pies, two a day in farm seasons, and the pies and lunches she took to the cattle shows for Wayne and the rest of the crew.
Hazel was a long time member of the Cass County Home Extension and helped each year with the meals served by the group at the Cass County 4-H Fair. She was a life member of the United Methodist Church, first in Chandlerville and later in Petersburg. She was a 60-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star and served in every office. She was active in all the school booster groups that her children were involved with. She and James were active members of the Shambolee Golf Course and played in various leagues.
After James’s death, she decided to move to the senior living apartments in Springfield and was currently living at the Arbors of Centennial Pointe. She enjoyed her family and family gatherings. She loved to go to activities where her grandchildren participated, especially sports. She was excited when the great-grandchildren came and she could start participating in their activities. She was loved by her family and friends and will be missed by us all.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 8, at Hurley Funeral Home in Petersburg.
Memorials may be made to the Shriners’ Children’s Hospital or to the United Methodist Church of Petersburg.
Please visit Hazel’s online obituary at hurleyfh.com to share memories and condolences. Hurley Funeral Home in Petersburg was in charge of arrangements.