On March 3, 1929, Edmund Gyurkey “Eddie” began his life in the west hills of the Buda side of the Danube River of Budapest, Hungary. An idyllic childhood was followed by the horrors of World War II, when Hungary was invaded by the Nazis and then Russia. His family fled on the train just as the Russians marched in. As war refugees, they finally found sanctuary and were reunited with his father in Garmisch, Bavaria. The occupying Americans gave jobs to each member of the family. Both Eddie and his younger brother, Nick, served the Allies’ cause in every capacity, from the motor pool to drivers for generals. Living in the Alps, Ed acquired two of his most important life skills: skiing and mechanics. By the time the Gyurkeys immigrated to America in 1951, he knew how to fix every kind of engine, a trade that would give him his first jobs in the new land.
Soon after declaring for American citizens, Ed and Nick both joined the Army. They were sent back to France, helping to build NATO air bases. At this time, Ed competed in and won the Armed Services Ski Championships in slalom, giant slalom and downhill. When discharged, Ed worked as a mechanic for Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and for Max Eberle’s Swiss Ski Shop in Hackensack, N.J. He married his first wife and had a daughter, Donna Jean.
After 20 years in the Northeast, brother Nick encouraged Ed to move to Sun Valley, Idaho. Nick had bought and was renovating the Lift Haven Inn at the bottom of the Warm Springs ski lifts. There, Ed managed the first ski shop in the Warm Springs Village, World Cup Ski Shop. After the closing of those two businesses, Ed was recruited to work at Sturtevants of Sun Valley. His extraordinary customer service and technical expertise was shared with humility, good humor and Old World charm. He was especially fond of children and dogs and entertained ladies with a spot-on imitation of Roy Orbison’s growl from “Pretty Woman.” Tennis friends remember him for always bringing candy or beer to games.
On Dec. 3, 2019, Ed passed away from a short illness while living at the Lincoln County Care Center in Shoshone, Idaho.
Ed is survived by his daughter, Donna Jean, and her husband, Harold Grady, and two grandsons, Taylor and Kellan Grady of New Hampshire; his brother, Nick Gyurkey and wife, Kathy, of Ketchum, Idaho; and many nieces and nephews in the USA and in Hungary. Eddie’s neighbors Lorna and Brian Hamel were his daughter and son “of the heart” through many years. The family is very grateful for their loving care of him. Ed’s second wife, Mary Ann Jenkins, predeceased him in 2015.
Eddie was greatly loved, and he will be greatly missed.
Eddie enjoyed three parties for his 90th birthday last March. He requested no memorial service. His family will gather on the occasion of Nick’s 90th birthday this summer to disperse Ed’s ashes.
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