Merlin “Jack” Gourlie

Merlin “Jack” Gourlie

MADISON-Merlin “Jack” Gourlie, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 13, 2014, at Oak Park Place.

He was born in Cuba City, on Nov. 19, 1916, the first of five children to John and Hazel Gourlie. Jack grew up most of his childhood life in Lancaster, on Bee Town Road. He and Evelyn McGuigan met on a blind date and two years later they were married on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1937, at St. Clement’s Church in Lancaster. When the war broke out in 1941, Jack joined the Air Force as a radio instructor and taught pilots on all types of aircraft. After the war was over, Jack worked at Ohio Medical as a supervisor but when asked to help open a new plant in Tampa, Florida, he resigned because he and Ev had purchased a new house for $6,000.00. He then sold cars for DuCane and Blumer, and once picked up Senator John F. Kennedy from the airport during his Presidential campaign. He then landed a job with the State of Wisconsin Bureau of Emergency Government. Jack worked there until his retirement in 1986.

He and Ev were founding members of St. Dennis Catholic Church. They attended morning mass every day at St. Dennis and after church service went out for breakfast with their church group. Merlin was a “Jack” of all trades. Many of his skills as a woodcrafter can be seen at St. Dennis Church. One of the things most people would say of Jack, win lose or draw, he was always right. Jack lived a long and bountiful life and we’ll miss him saying, “So what else is new?” He is now home with God, the love of his life, Evelyn and many family members and friends.

Jack is survived by his son, James (Karen) Gourlie; three grandchildren, Christopher (Annette) Gourlie, Andrew “AJ” (Alicia Stoikes) Gourlie and Sarah Alarcon; great-grandson, Brett Gourlie; and great-granddaughters, Arianna Alarcon and Megan Gourlie. He was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn (McGuigan) Gourlie; his parents; brothers and sister; and a grandson, Matthew Gourlie.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. DENNIS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 505 Dempsey Rd, Madison, at 11 a.m., on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Burial will be at Highland Memory Gardens. Visitation will be at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Thursday.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made for masses at St. Dennis Catholic Church.

A special thank you to the staff at the 718 Memory Care Unit at Oak Park Nursing.

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive