George H. Gurley, Jr. grew up in Kansas City where he attended Pembroke-Country Day for high school. He graduated with high honors in English from Princeton University in 1963, then taught at International College in Beirut, Lebanon for a year. He returned to Kansas City and worked in real estate as president of Preferred Properties for 20 years.
In 1983, he went to work for the Kansas City Star. He wrote three “general interest” columns a week for ten years and was the book review editor for seven years. Two of his plays were produced by Park College, directed by Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Gordonne. His poems have been published in literary magazines such as Poetry and New Letters. The Wall Street Journal has published his book reviews. Raindust Press published a book of his poems, “Home Movies". BkMk Press published a book of his poems, “Fugues in the Plumbing” and a book of newspaper columns (with Peter Simpson), “Press Box and City Room.”
After retirement from the Star, he wrote a column for the Lawrence, Kansas Journal World for 15 years. He and his wife, Susan, have four children – George H. Gurley III, Arian van Newkirk, Cern Van Newkirk and Gillian Gurley. George and Susan live on a farm in rural Douglas County where they have been restoring the native prairie under the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program.
WORKS FEATURED IN
IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY
Pictured are George H. Gurley, Jr. (father) and George H. Gurley III (son) at the
Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas at a promotion of George III’s book, “George
and Hilly,” which was published by the Gallery Books imprint of Simon and Schuster.
The book, based on columns he wrote for the New York Observer, chronicles six years of
couples therapy Gurley underwent with his girlfriend and now wife, Hillary Heard.
Father George helped his son edit the book.
“It was like going to graduate school,” said George III. “I learned so much...I have a
tendency to go long, and I can still hear him telling me to ‘boil it down.’”
“There was an enormous amount of material,” said the senior Gurley, who admits at
being shocked at some of the content. ”And it was a challenge to get him to throw away
“It was his idea to divide the book into separate chapters with distinct themes like
alcohol abuse and money problems,” said George III. “I really needed the structure.”
“It was a neat experience,” said his father. “Most fathers don’t have the opportunity to
work with their kids in a way that is so mutually rewarding. When he was younger, he
instinctively did the opposite of what I advised. (from an article in the Lawrence, Kansas
Journal World by Margie Carr 4-2-12, photo by Richard Gwin)