Tom Gurchick, a retired Gloucester City School science teacher died suddenly on February 15 in an automobile accident. Tom began his teaching career in 1965 and retired in 2000. He left a career he so dearly loved to enjoy his hobbies of growing orchids, fishing and building model planes.
Since the tragic accident there has been a number of Toms’s former students and friends posting comments on CNB.
It should be noted that at no time did the family ask to hold the funeral services for Mr. Gurchick at the high school. What they did ask was to be able to hold a Memorial Service at the school for Tom at a later date. That request was denied by Administrator Paul Spaventa and the Board solicitor.
What a tribute this would have been to the man who gave his whole life to the Gloucester City School District.
According to Board member Jim Everett the new Superintendent, Paul Spaventa said if he was to okay their request for a Memorial Service the Board of Education and himself would be open to all kinds of law suits. Explaining if you do it for one person then you have to do it for everybody.
Spaventa also told Everett that it would have cost the Gurchick family $1 million in “rider insurance”.
A local insurance agent said the cost for a $1 million insurance rider would be a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $700. So much for that excuse.
If you recall the family of deceased Corporal Marc Ryan made the same appeal to the school district in 2004. There request was granted by the School Board/Administration; the viewing was held at the high school from 5 PM to 9 PM. This past November there was a memorial service held for Corporal Ryan during the half-time of a football game.
By granting the Ryan’s family’s petition a precedent was set to allow others to use the school for the same purpose.
God forbid if another young man from Gloucester City is killed fighting in the War. Are the Board of Education /Superintendent Spaventa going to say no to that individual’s family if they make the same request that the Ryan’s did ?
As others have said already Mr. Gurchick would not want to be the subject of any discord in the school district or for that matter among the residents of his beloved City.
Personally I see no harm in allowing a funeral services or a Memorial Tribute at the high school for any prominent resident, official, soldier or teacher. It is the logical choice for such event because of it size.
I wonder if the Rotary Club, who holds a Pancake Breakfast annually at the high school, is required to have a million dollar insurance rider for their event each year?
Since 2004 I have yet to hear of anyone else besides the Ryan family wanting to use the school for funeral services. So for anyone to suggest the district would be inundated with request to hold Memorial Tributes and or Funerals at the school are baseless.
I would guarantee the majority of the populace would emphatically say YES if they were asked if a Memorial Tribute should be allowed to be held at the high school for Mr. Gurchick.
The Board of Education must understand the School District belongs to the taxpayers of this City. With that thought in mind they need to address this problem immediately so it can be handled properly in the future.
A Memorial service for Mr. Gurchick will be held Thursday, February 28, from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Etherington Creran Funeral Home, 700 Powell Street, Gloucester City.