George Rankin Schurman passed away to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ surrounded at his bedside by his loving family early Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at the age of 79. Mr. Schurman was born on January 3, 1932 in Medford, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts to Canadian parents, Benjamin C. and Grace Rankin Schurman, who shortly thereafter returned to their native hometown of Summerside, Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada where Mr. Schurman spent his formative years. At age 18 and as a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Mr. Schurman joined the United States Air Force during the Korean War. While serving the last two years of his 4-year term of duty at Barksdale AFB, he met and married his lifelong sweetheart of 60 years, Aline Spence Schurman, where they raised their children and resided in Shreveport for most of the remainder of his life. Immediately after his military tenure, Mr. Schurman attended and graduated with a B.S. in Geology from Centenary College in 1957, where he earned Sigma Gamma Epsilon national honor society membership for academic excellence in the study of geology. He would later earn a Masters of Science degree in Geology from Centenary College at age 60, approximately 18 years after suffering a life-altering spinal cord injury that rendered him a quadriplegic at age 42. After earning his undergraduate degree in 1957, Mr. Schurman first served as a geologist and oil scout covering the Gulf Coast region for Skelly and Getty Oil companies of Tulsa, Oklahoma before founding Schurman Oil & Gas, Inc., an independent oil and gas land and exploration firm in 1963, where his primary operating activity was in the Ark-La-Tex region. He soon thereafter also formed a real estate brokerage firm, Schurman Realty Company, Inc, where he was also an active member of the Collin County, Texas Board of Realtors and founder and president of Canada First Realty in PEI, Canada. Mr. Schurman remained active in both oil and gas and real estate businesses until his death, and was one of the earliest and longest serving realtors associated with the Shreveport-Bossier Board of Realtors.
In addition to his professional career, Mr. Schurman was also actively involved in many church-related and civic organizations on a local, state, national, and international level. He was an Elected Member of the Board of Trustees at Centenary College since 1976, and was elected a Life Member in 2005. He was a Founding Board Member, former Chairman, and Chair of fundraising for construction of the multi-faith Live Oak Retirement Center. He was also a former Board Chairman of the Community Council of Shreveport, and a former board member of C-BARC, HAP HOUSE, and ACCESS, all focused on improving the lives of the underprivileged, mentally challenged, and handicapped. Mr. Schurman served as Chairman of the Louisiana Governor's Conference on Handicapped in 1976, Chair of the Louisiana Delegation to the White House Conference on Handicapped in 1977, and Chairman of the Louisiana State Advisory Commission on Vocational Rehabilitation from 1977 to 1980. He also served on the Advisory Board of the Prince Edward Island Council on Handicapped Individuals in Canada.
Mr. Schurman was an active member of Lakeview United Methodist Church throughout his adult life, serving as Lay Leader, Youth Leader, and Sunday School teacher in his earlier years, and in later years, he also enjoyed serving as a member and teacher of the Bible Class at First United Methodist Church. He served on a national and international level as Chairman of the American Association for Ministry in the Workplace, where he enjoyed working with corporate leaders, chaplains, and social workers worldwide. He was also a former member of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the United Methodist Church and Board of Governors of Division of Chaplains and Related Ministries. He served as GBHEM representative to the General Task Force on Older Adult Ministries from 1984 to 1988. He was a former United Methodist Church Shreveport District Director of Lay Speaking and a Lay Delegate for the Louisiana Conference of the UMC from 1968 to 2006. He was the founder of the Schurman Family Scholarship Foundation at Centenary College of Louisiana and Three Oaks High School in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Mr. Schurman was the recipient of the Brotherhood Award of the Shreveport Chapter of National Assn. of Christians and Jews, the Humanitarian Award of the Caddo-Bossier Parish Community Council, Herman Williamson Award for Live Oak Retirement Center in 1987, Spirit Award for Multi-Faith Retirement Services, the Award of Merit - LA Conference for White House Conference for Handicapped Individuals in 1977, and Humanitarian Award for Caddo-Bossier Association for Retarded Citizens (CB-ARC). In addition, he was an Honored Alumnus and Founders Day Speaker at Centenary College in 1979, and was named Honorary Senator for the State of Louisiana by the LA State Senate in 1979. Mr. Schurman also co-chaired the Oil and Gas Division of the United Way Fund in Shreveport in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and was a former president of the Y's Men's Club of Shreveport.
Mr. Schurman's social memberships included the Shreveport Country Club, Petroleum Clubs of Shreveport and Dallas, University Club, Holland Society of New York, Huguenot Society of America, New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, Board Friends of Meadows Museum, Advisory Board New Orleans Museum of Art from 1980 to 1988, Board Member of Shreveport Regional Arts Council, National Philatelic Society, and the English Speaking Union.
Prior to his injury in 1973, Mr. Schurman was an avid hockey player and golfer. He was the first recipient of the King Scout Award on Prince Edward Island during his teenage years, and was an accomplished boxer, swimmer, and safety instructor. He was also an avid stamp collector, genealogy, and history buff. Mr. Schurman was especially fond of Sir Winston Churchill and his well-known attributes of persistence in the face of doubt and adversity. His favorite quote of Sir Winston was "Never, ever, ever, ever give up!" an attitude that served him well in his ability to not only survive, but thrive as one of the longest known living quadriplegics for over 38 years as he approached his 80th birthday. His zeal for life and faith in God was an inspiration to his large family, friends, and acquaintances over the years. He especially loved making his yearly sojourn with his immediate family from Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma to his childhood homeland of Prince Edward Island to enjoy the cool Canadian summers at his Stanley Bridge home with his brothers and extended Canadian family and friends. He was loved dearly and will be missed by all.
Mr. Schurman was predeceased by his parents, Benjamin and Grace Schurman, older brother Robert Clayton Schurman, all of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, and his youngest daughter Bonnie Susan Schurman of Shreveport, Louisiana. He is survived by his loving wife, Aline Spence Schurman of Shreveport; G. Rankin Schurman, II and wife Pamela of Oklahoma City, OK; Lisa Schurman Mendes and husband Carlos Mendes of Plano, TX; Stephen W. Schurman and wife Misty Schurman of Shreveport; and Lori Schurman Bogdan and husband Andy Bogdan of Fairview, TX; grandchildren George Rankin Schurman, III and spouse Christy, Brenton Edward Schurman and spouse Ragan, and Lindsey Burgess, Arthur Schurman Mendes, Paul Edwin Schurman Mendes and Chase Landry, Robert Andrew Bogdan and spouse Leah, Andrea Louise Bogdan Ruland and spouse Lance, Rachel Rene Schurman, Sarah Anne Schurman and fiancée, Jordan Powell, Caroline Lisabeth Schurman Mendes, Jacob Lee Schurman, and Benjamin Lee Schurman, Emma and Hailey Schurman; and great-grandchildren Paige Loren Schurman, Bailey Michelle Schurman, Davis Rankin Schurman, Hudson Pace Schurman, and Charles David Schurman. He is also survived by his brothers Paul Hudson Schurman and wife Barbara, and Donald Ian Schurman and wife Glenda, all of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, and a multitude of extended family primarily in Louisiana and Prince Edward Island. Mr. Schurman was especially blessed by the close friendship and assistance of Gerald Venus during the last 20 years of his life, whom he lovingly referred to as his "twin brother," as well as long-standing friendships with other assistants including Bayne Lee, Joey Dumas, Elizabeth and Steve Miller, Alfred and Fred Jackson, and Albert Suto.
In Shreveport, a wake for Mr. Schurman will be held from 5-8 pm on Friday, November 25, 2011 at Rose Neath South Funeral Home at 2500 Southside Drive, followed by funeral services on Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 2pm at Brown Chapel at Centenary College at 2900 Woodlawn Avenue, and burial at Centuries Memorial Park at 8801 Mansfield Road. Pallbearers will be Mr. Schurman's grandsons Joey and Brenton Schurman, Arthur and Paul Mendes, Robert Bogdan, Jacob Lee and Benjamin Lee Schurman, and grand-nephew, Joey Schurman. Honorary pallbearers are Byron E. King, Judge Gayle Hamilton, Forrest Dunn, Lt. General John Spencer Hardy, Byrum Teekell, Donald Webb, Fletcher Thorne Thompson, Homer Thomas, Ralph Hostetter, Donald Gednetz, John T. Palmer, and William Colbert, Jr. A memorial service for Mr. Schurman will be held at a later date in Prince Edward Island, Canada. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Caddo-Bossier ARC Foundation, Centenary College of Louisiana, or a charity of donor's choice.