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Eli Gursky

November 3, 1928 - July 13, 2022

SCIO – Eli Gursky, 93, passed away on Wednesday (July 13, 2022) at the Bath VA Medical Center following a brief illness.

Mr. Gursky was born on November 3, 1928 in Eynon, Pa. to Walter and Helena (Frenchko) Gursky. He served in the United States Army Air Corps (later the United States Air Force) from 1946-1949 and in the United States Navy as a Radioman First Class from 1949 until his retirement from the service in 1967; being credited with World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. On June 18, 1955, he married Sara S. McDonnell, who predeceased him on January 26, 1989.

Eli worked as an electrician for Olean Tile Company in Olean for over 20 years.

Eli is survived by two sons, Jeffrey (Joyce) Gursky and Robert (Carol) Gursky, both of Olean; a daughter, Carlene G. (Gregory) Hardy of Scio; nine grandchildren, Julia, Gina, Jeffrey, Joelle, Ginger, Shawna, C. Daniel, Gavin and James; and 15 great grandchildren.

In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by a son, Brian Gursky.

Eli enjoyed the great outdoors. He loved fishing and would do so wherever there was a place to drop a line. He fished locally, off the cliffs of Brunswick, Maine, the Allegany River, Amity Lake and everywhere in between. He also like to camp. With his 12-man Army tent, he and his family camped the whole way from Maine to Olean, building great memories along the way.

As a product of the Great Depression, Eli knew how to squeeze a penny. Like many people of the day, he grew up poor and didn’t know it. Having a huge vegetable garden was one way to stretch the family budget. Much of the produce of the garden either went directly on the table, was canned or shared with his friends and neighbors.

Playing road trip games and watching game shows on TV were other ways that Eli enjoyed interacting with his family. His children still fondly remember the $1 winner from watching Jeopardy and the tossing of the change on floor, creating a free for all. In his spare time, he built lawn furniture in his workshop.

Eli was very proud of his military career. Even late in life, he would consciously or sub-consciously tap out on his chest the news broadcasts while napping on the couch, a throwback to his days as a radioman. He was a long-time member of the Portville American Legion and also served on the Civil Patrol of Olean in times past.

Per his request, there will be a private family viewing at the convenience of the family. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday (July 19) at 1:00 p.m. at Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Portville with full military honors rendered.

Arrangements are under the direction of Baker-Swan Funeral Home in Wellsville/Scio. Online condolences may be offered at

Memorial contributions in Eli’s name may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 ( © 2022 Baker-Swan Funeral Home.

Graveside Service:
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
1:00 p.m.
Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Portville


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4 Messages

  1. So sorry for your loss of Eli. I don’t believe I ever met him, but I did know the McDonnell family all my life.

  2. Jeff, Bobby, and family; so sorry to learn of your father’s passing. Growing up, I remember his unique sense of humor and joking personality.
    Thinking of you all.

  3. Your messageGreg, Carlene and family,

    I am sorry for your loss. Andie

  4. Carlene, Greg and family, please know of our prayers for you all. I have fond memories of your dad from high school. When we switched houses I dont think he knew what was happening!😊
    I miss you my dear friend! May Eli rest in peace in the arms of Jesus!


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