By Dan Murphy
The first stop that many newcomers made to the neighborhood was Charles Street Supply, and Dick Gurnon was always more than happy to help.
“He loved coming to work and the families around here,” said hos son Jack Gurnon, who now owns the Charles Street hardware. “He would do anything for them.”
Mr. Gurnon died of complications from treatment for lymphoma in the Old Saybrook, Conn., He was 89.
Raised in Everett, Mr. Gurnon was the youngest of three children. He served in the Navy as an aviation mechanic in World War II. Afterwards, he became a wholesale hardware salesman and partnered with the owner of Charles Street Supply Co. at its original location in 1952.
In 1963, the hardware store fell prey to a fire when someone lit a fire behind the store, which led to the cancellation of Mr. Gurnon’s lease. An attorney from Louisburg Square stepped up, though, and gave Mr. Gurnon a much-needed loan.
“I wanted to make sure that I worked as hard as he did and I hope it still shows today,” said Jack, of the new store that opened at 54 Charles St. on Labor Day of that year.
In 1985, the store expanded when the hardware store took over the retail space next door.
“It’s a neighborhood, store and he wanted to make sure it continued,” said Jack of his father, who retired in 1997.
Herman Greeenfield, the owner of Gary Drug, which is located across the street from Charles Street Supply’s current location, first met Mr. Gurnon in th
e 1970s and said he was always a pleasure to speak with.
“He was great guy,” Greenfield said. “He had an upbeat personality and was always extremely outgoing and funny. He was always a delight to talk to and see on the street.”
Mr. Gurnon is survived by his partner Patricia Cowles of Old Saybrook, Conn., his three children – Richard G. Gurnon of Buzzards Bay, Mary Ellen Gurnon of Venice, Fla., and Jack of Boston. He has seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is also predeceased by his wife Emilie Marie Christoffels, who died in 2001, and is survived by his longtime companion Patricia Cowles.
A remembrance service will be held in Mr. Gurnon’s honor on Monday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer St, and a reception will be held immediately following at the church in Mosley Hall.