Clement Waldron Gurno, known to many of us as “John” Gurno, passed into his new life on May 7, 2014 in Sedro-Woolley Washington, surrounded by his beloved family. His life has ended here but his new life has just begun.
He was born on April 28, 1936 in Cloquet, Minnesota, on the Fond Du Lac Reservation, the son of Clement E. “Tim” & Adeline (McCourtney) Gurno.
John joined the U.S. Army on May 5, 1953 and became a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne at Fort Campbell Kentucky. He talked about jumping out of airplanes and gliding down with the clouds. He used to say “it was the most quiet and calming thing he ever experienced”.
He was a journeyman pipe fitter and worked on many construction jobs around California, Montana and Washington State. These jobs included the oil refineries in Anacortes, Washington and Ferndale, Washington; the Trojan nuclear power plant in Kelso, Washington, an oil refinery in Helena, Montana and many others. He lived to work with his hands and always wanted to do the job “the right way”.
He loved to be outside with his grandkids and they would hear him say “Let’s get the troops together and go clamming”.
He was a member of the Fond du Lac band of the Minnesota Chippewa tribe. However, he always said he belonged to the Anishinaabeg.
John is survived by his wife, Helen Gurno of Burlington, WA; his sister, Tina Kozlowski of Kent, WA; 3 sons, Timothy Gurno and his wife Cynthia of Sedro-Woolley, Thomas Gurno of Anchorage, Alaska and Terry Gurno and wife Nancy of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; 3 daughters, Pamela Ranch and her husband Dennis of Federal Way, WA, Elizabeth Koch and her husband Daniel of Renton, WA, and Tonya O’Conner of Sligo, Ireland. John was blessed with 19 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Clement “Tim” and Adeline; his brothers Marlin (Corky) and Arthur Gurno.
Per John’s request there will not be any services. Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley.