March 7, 1939 – December 18, 2023
John E. Gorely, 84, of Raleigh, NC passed away peacefully from complications of advanced dementia in his home surrounded by his loving daughters on December 18, 2023.
John was born in Washington, DC and grew up in District Heights and Leonardtown, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland where he served in ROTC and was commissioned as an officer in the Marines. He proudly served as a first lieutenant in Vietnam, starting in 1964 as an advisor and serving in multiple combat operations into 1966.
One of the harrowing operations he was involved with in Vietnam was chronicled in the April 16, 1965 edition of Life Magazine titled Sudden Death in Vietnam: One Ride with Yankee Papa 13 and is “universally regarded as one of the greatest photographic documents to emerge from the war in Vietnam.” John felt tremendous pride in being a Marine and for his service to his country.
After returning home, John married Margaret Stupak, and they moved to Raleigh. They had two daughters together – Jen and Amy – and were married for nine years.
No stranger to hard work, John became a Certified Financial Planner and began his own company, Gorely Financial Services. He enjoyed working for himself and was very successful in business.
Nicknamed “Mad Dog” in the Marines, John was ever the wild man. He had motorcycles throughout his life. He rode an Indian motorcycle in his teens, then raced motocross , and his final motorcycle was a Harley Davidson with roaring glass packs—so there was no doubt when he was arriving or leaving. John wasn’t shy about making a scene.
The role that John was most proud of was that of Dad—and Granddad later in life. He was an extremely attentive, supportive, and generous father. He would call his daughters every day, asking how their days went, and faithfully attended every dance and band performance. John even took up the hobby of sailing so he would have something to share with his daughters on weekends and on summer trips.
He constantly told Jen and Amy how much he loved them and how proud he was of them. When his daughters were in college, John sent cards in the mail every week to let them know he was thinking about them and encouraged them to “press on.” This mantra was central to his loving guidance as a father, father-in-law, and grandfather – to accept the situation and “press on” was reflective of his values for hard work and unwavering commitment.
John was an avid adventurer, having visited six of the seven continents throughout his life. He traveled with his daughters to many U.S. cities exposing them to new places and experiences as they grew up. Later in life, he loved traveling with his wife Pat Stroud Gorely to Australia, Africa, Hawaii, and all places in the American southwest—especially Arizona. John had a special affinity for Native American-made art and jewelry. He frequently donated to charitable causes supporting tribal communities in the United States.
Known for his dark humor and his capacity to laugh loudest and hardest at his own jokes, John was selective with his friendships and most effusive with his love for his family. After every visit with family, he would inevitably call to declare it the “best visit of all time.”
John’s consistent sharing of love with his family continued through his last breath.
No one would argue that John Gorely was one of a kind. Those who love him are heartbroken by his loss and also share relief that his body and spirit are free.
John is preceded in death by his wife Pat Stroud Gorely and his parents Irma and Frank Gorely. He is survived by his daughters Jennifer Gorely Bauldree and Amy Marie Gorely, his sons-in-law Mike Bauldree and John Bemis, and his grandchildren Caroline Bauldree, Matthew Bauldree, and Rose Gorely-Bemis.
John’s family would like to offer heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to his companion and angel Dee Castro who brought so much laughter and love to him in his final year of his life. During a difficult time, this “loco bull” was living his best life thanks to her kind support and unwavering friendship.
No memorial service is immediately planned. A celebration of life will occur in the new year. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Soltys Place.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Heartland / Promedica Hospice for their wonderful care in his last week.