At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Jay Freeman Gurd Memorial Youth Fund
402 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
C/O Kalamazoo Community Foundation.
Life Story / Obituary
Ada Gurd was a remarkable woman. Always setting the standards for her family and friends by her positive outlook on life and the ability to listen to their concerns without ever turning the conversation back toward herself will be her greatest gifts. Ada was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother who leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her many special friends and loved ones to cherish for generations to come.
Looking back on the 1920s, it was a period of sustained economic prosperity. Radio stations were growing in operation throughout the US, the media was focused on jazz music and celebrities, and at the brink of what would be known as the Roaring Twenties, Ada, arrived on March 30, 1920, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There was a certain amount of tenacity among those who lived through these times and Ada was never one to sulk, instead, she took on every challenge with a positive spirit.
Born with a fiercely independent nature and ability to survive, Ada learned many valuable lessons during her childhood. At a very young age, she was known to be a caregiver for many of her elderly relatives during their extended illnesses creating in her a deep compassion for people that lasted throughout her lifetime. When she was very young, her father was faced with the challenge of leaving her and her younger brother, Willie, behind to work on the Panama Canal. Both orphaned, these years were difficult, yet Ada never considered them a set back. Instead, she drew on her strong work ethic and persevered. She later took this mindset into the many factories where she worked during the post-depression era and WWII. These years reinforced her faith in humanity as well as instilled in her the value of a hard day’s work.
Not to be forgotten, however, was the meeting of the gentleman, Ray Gurd, who would change the course of her life forever! Typical of the times, dance halls were growing in popularity and she caught his eye across the dance floor one night while out on the town. The rest was history for the two of them as they were inseparable from that moment on! The happy couple joined in marriage and together raised three wonderful children; Sharon, Carole, and Lyle. As a mother, she instilled in her children the ability to accept all others and to treat everyone with kindness. Over their growing years, they enjoying traveling and camping together as a family. Ada absolutely loved the outdoors and anytime her family was together her heart was content. She and Ray were blessed with many special years together. When he passed in 2001, she leaned on her many special friends and family for support to see her through yet she still longed for his companionship over the years.
Always active, Ada held many special pastimes during her life. Known for her fabulous baking, family members grew accustomed to her fresh baked goods available at each gathering. She also enjoyed crocheting and used her talent to make each member of her large family a blanket of their own. A natural with children, it was no surprise that she taught 4H crafts for many years as well as took care of friends and her family’s children anytime they asked never wanting anything in return. In addition to her crafting and volunteering, Ada never passed up an opportunity for travel. She enjoyed traveling for many years in their fifth-wheel camper all around the country. She and Ray traveled from coast to coast, yet Ada’s favorite destination was Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
As much as she relished in her years as a mother, Ada was especially blessed when her grandchildren arrived! She loved to camp with them and teach them all the special tricks and tips for travel. She was immensely proud of each of them. A lover of newborn babies, she treasured the years of welcoming her four special great-grandchildren; Brenden, Makenna, Ryder and Emerson. They were equally blessed by her love and her ability to share with them her infectious laughter and warm personality. Ada valued the importance of family. There simply wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for a friend or family member in need. Her gracious heart and ability to shed the most optimistic light on many hardships and challenges will never be forgotten. Ada will be deeply missed by all those who knew and loved her and they will surely carry her memory in their hearts forevermore.
Ada Mary Gurd, age 99, of Cooper, Michigan, passed away peacefully on July 31, 2019. She is survived by her son, Lyle (Mary Beth) Gurd: grandchildren; Jessica (Ryan) Knott, Betsy (Eric) Stoneburner, Bryan (Sarah) See, Christopher (Tara) Gurd: great-grandchildren; Brenden and Makenna Stoneburner, Ryder and Emerson See. Ada is preceded in death by her husband, Ray Gurd; daughters; Sharon McArty and Carole See and grandson; Jay Gurd. She worked as a ward manager at Bronson Hospital for 19 remarkable years, loved to travel, and spend time with her family. Visitation for Ada will be Sunday, August 11, 2019 from 1:00 to 4:00pm at McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, Marshall – Gren Chapel, 120 S. Woodhams, Plainwell, MI 49080. A memorial service will be held at the same location on Monday, August 12, 2019 at 11:00am. Please visit Ada’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com where you can leave a memory, share a picture, and sign the guest book for the family.