Roy Gursky, 65, owner of Gursky Ranch in Brentwood, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 11 following a long battle with cancer.
Harvest Time President Ken Hagan credits Roy with the success of the nonprofit agriculture organization, and said he’ll miss his friend’s wit and wisdom: “The existence of Harvest Time today is due to all the hard work that Roy Gursky put into it. He was a major member of the marketing efforts for many, many years. I remember Roy as someone who wasn’t afraid to speak his opinion, but did so without offending people. He was a great guy and I’m going to miss him.”
A third-generation resident of East County, Roy followed his father and grandfather into the family business, Gursky and Sons Livestock Company, in 1968. But when the cattle market declined in 1975, Roy became a realtor, and opened Gursky Ranch with his wife Lynn in 1980.
Throughout the years, Roy sat on a number of local Brentwood boards, including the fire commission, Liberty Union High School District and Chamber of Commerce. In later years Roy and his family were actively involved in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life events.
“Roy loved living here, being a part of the community where his parents and grandparents lived,” said Lynn. “He was very involved in his community but liked to stay behind the scenes … and he was very proud of Gursky Ranch.”
But his biggest source of pride, said Lynn, was his family: “His family was the most important thing to him, and I think he was most proud of the dads his sons had become; he was very proud of that and them.”
As the news of Roy’s passing became known, members of the community posted their condolences and remembrances on the Press Web site.
“Roy was a first class gentleman, who was not afraid to tell like it was,” wrote Antioch Mayor Jim Davis. “My wife and I had the opportunity to visit Roy on a trip to his ranch store a few months back … it was a sincere honor to introduce ourselves to him and have a frank discussion about Antioch and East County politics. Eastern Contra Costa County was made better by the efforts of Roy and his family. He will be missed.”
Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor wrote that he and his family were deeply saddened by Roy’s passing. “On behalf of the entire Taylor family, we are truly in mourning at the loss of a quiet leader in the town of Brentwood. He was articulate and had a true passion for his town and his many articles and opinions will be missed greatly. … The orchard he will be tending will be the neatest and cleanest one in heaven.”
Roy leaves behind his wife of 41 years, Lynn, sons Nathan and Stephen, daughters-in-law Adele and Sarah, and grandchildren Matthew, Lauren, Sarah, Sophia and Evan. Friends are welcome to attend a Celebration of Life open house for Roy on Aug. 23 between 2 and 4 p.m. at Gursky Ranch, 1921 Apricot Way.
The family asks that donations in Roy’s name be made to ACS Relay for Life in Brentwood 2010, or Hospice of the East Bay.