Obituary of Jean Gurkin
Jean Pittman Gurkin, 79, of Salisbury, Maryland, passed away February 14, 2019, after an aggressive recurrence of breast cancer, surrounded by her loving husband, daughter, and close family.
She was born to the late Dan Kelly Pittman and Marguerite Pope Pittman on June 12, 1939, in Suffolk, Virginia, and raised in Plymouth, North Carolina. Jean graduated from Plymouth High School in 1957 and attended the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina, graduated from Hardbarger’s Business College, and worked for several years as a medical secretary for a physician practice group in Raleigh, North Carolina. Jean was married in 1961 in Plymouth, North Carolina to Luther Warren Gurkin, III, and spent time in North Carolina and Texas before settling on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1964 when her husband accepted a position with NASA’s Wallops Station.
Jean was predeceased by her son, Stephen Warren Gurkin, and leaves behind her loving and devoted husband, Luther Warren Gurkin, III, daughter, Melanie Jean Bossi and her husband, Richard, of Alexandria, Virginia, her brothers, Dan “Danny” Ray (and wife Lynn) Pittman of Oxford, Mississippi, and Glenn Wade (and wife Kimbly) Pittman of Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as beloved cousin Harry Willoughby Gurkin, Jr., of Arlington, Virginia, niece Kelly Pittman Hall and her husband, Joseph of Taylors, South Carolina, and nephews Robert Doyle Pittman and his fiancé Jennifer of Atlanta, Georgia, and Joshua Blake Pittman and his wife, Elizabeth of Franklin, Tennessee. Mrs. Gurkin is also survived by three grandchildren; Madison Scott Gurkin, Harmon Miller Gurkin, and Aidan Daniele Bossi.
Jean was a member of Asbury United Methodist Church, worked as a parent volunteer docent in a program that brought art enrichment into the classrooms of public elementary schools in Wicomico County, participated for many years in the Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council, and supported the work of the Shore Jazz programs. Jean was an accomplished pianist, and passed her appreciation of music to her children, and enjoyed teaching her grandson, Harmon, to play the piano. She particularly enjoyed sharing and passing on her love of decorating to her daughter, Melanie. She was a woman of charm, class, and refinement, and she will be remembered most for her charismatic personality, genuine warmth and kindness towards others, for her love of life, her empathy, the way she loved, her beautiful blue eyes and smile, unforgettable ability to convey meaning and emotion in her written words, and her innate ability to shine light and hope to all that had the blessing to know her. She never took her time or the people in her life for granted, and always made sure you knew just how special you were.
Jean was an engaging conversationalist and never met a stranger. She loved all animals, but had a particular affinity for felines, and cared for many feral cats, joyfully dedicating her time and resources to feed and support them. She centered her life around caring for others, human or not, and many of her happiest moments were spent with her family in Plymouth, North Carolina, and at the Gurkin cottage in Nags Head on the Outer Banks. She had a great sense of humor and could be immensely entertaining as a teller of stories about people and events in her life, a trait she may well have inherited from her father. Jean was a true peacemaker in her family, and a generous friend who was known for her sweet thoughtfulness and random acts of kindness as well as her quick laugh and even quicker wit.
She was a true Southern lady to the end, even faced with the challenges of her terminal illness, Jean maintained her positive attitude and gracious spirit, warmly greeting visitors even in her last weeks, and was known to all as a woman of strength, dignity, and style. She wished to be remembered as a dutiful and loving daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother, as well as a true and loyal friend to those who were in her life. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends and all who knew her.
The family would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation for the exceptional care provided by the compassionate physicians, nurses, caregivers and staff of Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s third floor Oncology East unit, the Station 5 rehabilitation team at Genesis HealthCare, as well as many neighbors, and Jean’s dear friends at Laurie’s Hair Designs, for their love and support.
A visitation will be held at the Holloway Funeral Home on Sunday, March 3, 2019, located at 501 Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, Maryland, 21804, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. A private graveside service will be held at Hillside Memorial Gardens at 213 Roanoke Avenue in Plymouth, North Carolina, 27962 at a later date. Please visit www.hollowayfh.com to express condolences to the family. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in support of breast cancer research, or the humane care of animals, to a charity of your choice.
Salisbury: (410) 742-5141
Pocomoke City: (410) 957-0224
Salisbury: (410) 749-3278
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501 Snow Hill Road
Salisbury, Maryland 21804
107 Vine Street
Pocomoke City, Maryland 21851
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