Every now and then, a person comes into the world who leaves an irreplaceable mark on people from all across the globe. It is impossible to quantify the massive impact Dr. George M. Gura Jr. had on the world, his family, his friends, and his patients, but we will always remember and honor his kindness, his compassion, and his overwhelming generosity.
Born in 1936 in Hartford, Connecticut to Dr. George M. Gura & Mrs. Elizabeth Sullivan Gura, Dr. Gura grew up watching his father practice medicine as a small town physician, on call twenty-four hours a day, making house visits, taking vegetables and other goods in lieu of payment – often accepting no payment at all. This endless and selfless practice of medicine propelled Dr. Gura into a life of service, dedicated to his family, his country, and of course, his patients.
Dr. Gura believed the secret to life was education, largely because his own education changed the course of his life and inspired his strong work ethic. He was educated at The Taft School, Middlebury College, Columbia University, and the University of Virginia School of Medicine before joining the United States Navy at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. For the next decade of his life, Dr. Gura continued to serve his country as a flight surgeon during the Vietnam War, stationed out of Norfolk, Virginia. Later in life, Dr. Gura specialized in Cardiology, eventually serving as Chairman of the Cardiovascular Division at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
Dr. Gura’s love for the Mayo Clinic began in 1970 and will live for eternity. After completing his residency and fellowship at Mayo, Dr. Gura was, and always will be, honored as one of Mayo’s Cardiovascular Consultants. He loved Mayo’s history and environment, and he was constantly in awe of all his colleagues, often telling his friends and family that he surrounds himself with people smarter than him every day, which is what allows him to thrive as a physician.
He was dedicated to the development and improvement of his subspecialty in echocardiography and ran fifty-three consecutive echocardiography conferences in Vail, CO with some of the most talented men and women of his field. Vail, CO quickly became Dr. Gura’s favorite place on earth.
Although his mind was surely brilliant, his heart was even more powerful. He fell in love with all his patients. His commitment to and enthusiasm for his international patients lead him to develop, and became the Director of, the International Cardiology Clinic within Mayo’s Department of Cardiovascular Diseases. He loved working with his secretary and his team of nurses, who he fondly referred to as “Friends of George,” a title that spread to include an army of loved ones during his battle with cancer.
Dr. Gura’s love for medicine was rivaled only by his love for his family. In 1960, he married Nancy Ahearn, by whom he had three incredible children: Dr. George M. Gura lll, Thomas Gura PhD, and Elizabeth Gura Polese MBA. In 1985, he married Janice L. Jeffries, and had one daughter, Kristen Gura Fickman. He was the most generous, loving husband, and a truly unparalleled father.
Dr. Gura was famous for his passion for distance running, completing over thirty marathons in his lifetime. He had a particularly strong bond with the Boston Marathon and wore his Boston Strong hat with the utmost pride. He ran his final Boston Marathon in 2016, finishing at the top of his age group. He always said with a wink, “To win my age group, I don’t need to get faster, I just need to get a little older.”
Dr. Gura will be deeply missed by his loving wife, Janice; four siblings, Patricia, James, Francis, and Susan; four children, George, Tom, Elizabeth, and Kristen; daughter-in-law, Veronica; son-in-law, Andy; and six “grand-chickens”, Samantha, Gabriela, Elaina, Andrea, Hayden, and Carolina – all of whom he loved over the moon. Papa George leaves a huge legacy for us all to protect.
A visitation for Dr. George M. Gura Jr. will be held at the Macken Funeral Home River Park Chapel in Rochester, Minnesota on Wednesday January 25, 2017 from 5pm – 8pm. A funeral Mass will take place Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 10:30am at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church with Rev. Msgr. Gerald Mahon officiating with a visitation starting at 9:30am at the church. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations sent to the Boston Strong Charity. http://bostonstrong.org
Online condolences are welcome at www.mackenfuneralhome.com.