We sadly announce the passing of our dear father, John Albert Gurney on April 27. He was born on June 1 in Provo, Utah to Frances Gurney and Anna LaVerde Scorup as the eldest child of five. He grew up on a ranch in Salina, UT, and rode his first horse at the age of 2. As an infant, he won a prize for being the cutest baby in all of Utah County. Growing up, John lived in two worlds, loving his life on the ranch and dedicating his spare time to academia and learning. In his early teens he became seriously ill with pneumonia and was out of school for an extended period of time. He spent this time voraciously reading every library book he could get his hands on. It was in those pages where he ultimately discovered his lifelong love of science. John quickly learned that “a book is a ship to the whole world” and that ship sent him sailing on a limitless journey of exploration. He was the salutatorian of his high school graduating class of 1948 in Ephraim, UT. John wanted to be a cowboy when he grew up, but his father advised him to pursue his interest in science, specifically chemistry, where he excelled and eventually built a fruitful career.\n\nAs a young man, John accepted his mission call to Sacramento, CA where he devoutly served for 3 years. After returning from his mission, John met his future wife, Ralphena Taylor through his sister Kathleen. John and Ralphena were married in the Salt Lake Temple in December of 1955. Their eldest child, DeNeece was born in 1956 followed by Michelle in 1961and David in 1966. John earned his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1956 and went on to earn his Master’s and doctorate degrees in chemistry from BYU. He was a member of the first class to receive a PhD in chemistry at BYU. \n\nJohn’s first job out of graduate school brought him and his family to Anaheim, CA where he worked as a research chemist for the Union Oil Company Brea Lab. His next position as a research chemist was in Tarrytown, NY working for Geigy, which at the time was one of the world's leading pharmaceutical and specialty chemical companies that led to many innovations in the field of synthetic organic chemistry. John later accepted a position with Johnson and Johnson in New Jersey where he contributed to the development of Band-Aid adhesive technology still used globally today. His 3 children were his primary research subjects and were often seen covered in Band-Aids. It was also during this time that John developed a lasting passion for gardening. He particularly loved growing lilies and creating floral designs. The family then moved to Northfield, IL where John worked for Kraft. His job involved developing delicious ice cream flavors which pleased his three children to no end. John’s favorite ice cream flavor was strawberry. \n\nIt was while they were living in New Jersey that Ralphena was diagnosed with breast cancer. After many years of battling cancer, Ralphena passed away in 1983. John was devastated to lose the love of his life and never remarried. He always spoke so lovingly and affectionately of Ralphena, sharing stories and memories of her unparalleled artistic skills as a seamstress, cake decorator, and homemaker as well as her strength and tenacity as she battled cancer. We are comforted knowing that John and Ralphena are now reunited as eternal companions. Shortly after Ralphena’s passing, John accepted a job working for Orange-Sol in 1985 in Phoenix, AZ where he resided up until his death. His grandchildren fondly recall spending summers swimming in his pool, reading, and exploring his colossal collection of National Geographic magazines.\n\nJohn retired in 1995 and spent his retirement years pursuing his love of photography, serving in his local ward, and continuing his passion for reading and seeking knowledge. Even after losing his left eye to glaucoma and cataract complications, he continued to photograph every national monument, state park, landscape, wildlife, cultural attraction, and anything else that caught his eye (pun intended) in the entire state of Arizona. John found immense joy in his family, friends, hobbies, and his faith. He was an active member of his local camera club and spent much of his time exploring the beautiful state of Arizona, taking pictures, researching the latest cameras, lenses, and photo gear, while taking great care in editing, and displaying his work. He frequently submitted pieces to various photography competitions and received many awards for his delightful and colorful photographs.\n\nDuring John’s last few years as his health declined, he endured his physical limitations with optimism and fortitude dedicating much of his time to his passion for photography and actively serving in his local ward. He was profoundly committed to his faith and never missed church on Sundays. He knew everyone’s name in his local ward and will be remembered for his cheerfulness, steadfastness, and devotion. John accepted multiple callings including ward clerk, High Priest Group Leader, and gospel doctrine teacher. John always looked forward to receiving his monthly copies of National Geographic and Bird Life magazine in the mail, was often seen reading encyclopedias, and continued his love of gardening as an active member of the Arbor Society. He’ll be pleased to know that the Arbor Society is planting a tree in his honor.\n\nJohn is preceded in death by his beloved wife Ralphena Gurney, his youngest son David Gurney (Katie Gurney), his grandson Caleb Van De Graff, and his siblings Boyd Gurney, Kenneth Gurney, Kathleen Mohan, and Alene Eisel. He is survived by his children DeNeece Gurney Tueller (Matthew Tueller) and Michelle Gurney Van De Graaff (Rick Van De Graaff), his grandchildren Marie Tueller (Kyle Newkirk), Margaret Tueller Proffitt (Clark Proffitt) , David Tueller (Ayae Takeshima Tueller), Daniel Tueller, Christian Tueller, Jacob Van De Graaff (Mel Van De Graaff), Tara Van De Graaff, Lucas Van De Graaff (Rebeca Cardenas-Van De Graaff), Taylor Gurney, Steven Gurney, and Hunter Gurney, his great grandchildren Amara and Kaeden Newkirk, Booker, Teichert, Asher, and Miriam Proffitt, Yuna and Jin Tueller, and Noah Tueller.\n\nThe family would like to extend their gratitude to Gary Vargo, John’s local ward members, camera club members, and professional caregivers for their tremendous support, friendships, and care spanning many years. \n\nFuneral services will be held Saturday, May 1 at 11am with a viewing at 10am at the LDS chapel at 3601 E. Shea Blvd, Phoenix, AZ. A live stream of the service can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/WJBi7km9k_s \nA graveside service will be held at the Provo City cemetery in Provo, UT on Saturday May 8 at 11am.\nYour memories and stories about John will comfort the family very much. Please share at the Nelson Family Mortuary website.