John Chandler Gurney

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John Chandler Gurney
John Chandler Gurney.jpg
United States Senator
from South Dakota
In office
January 3, 1939 – January 3, 1951
Preceded by Gladys Pyle
Succeeded by Francis H. Case
Personal details
Born (1896-05-21)May 21, 1896
Yankton, South Dakota
Died March 9, 1985(1985-03-09) (aged 88)
Yankton, South Dakota
Resting place Yankton City Cemetery
42°53′59″N 97°23′37″W / 42.89972°N 97.39361°W / 42.89972; -97.39361 (John "Chan" Gurney Burial Site)
Political party Republican

John Chandler "Chan" Gurney (May 21, 1896 – March 9, 1985) was a U.S. Senator from South Dakota.

Born in Yankton, South Dakota, Gurney attended the public schools. During World War I, he served as a sergeant in Company A, Thirty-Fourth Engineers, United States Army, with service overseas from 1918 to 1919. He also engaged in his family's seed and nursery business (Gurney's Seed and Nursery Company) from 1914 to 1926, and was the operator of a radio station (WNAX) at Yankton from 1926 to 1932. He then moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and engaged in the wholesale gasoline and oil business from 1932 to 1936.

In 1936, Gurney ran unsuccessfully for election to the United States Senate, but he was elected as a Republican in 1938. He was reelected in 1944 and served in all from January 3, 1939 to January 3, 1951. He was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. He sought to be re-elected in 1950, but was defeated in the Republican primary by Francis Case.

After his time in Congress, Gurney was appointed a member of the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1951, became chairman in 1954, and served until 1964. He retired to Yankton, where he died and was buried in Yankton Cemetery.


United States Senate
Preceded by
Gladys Pyle
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from South Dakota
1939–1951
Served alongside: William J. Bulow, Harlan J. Bushfield, Vera C. Bushfield, Karl E. Mundt
Succeeded by
Francis H. Case

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