The financial planning pioneer Harold W. Gourgues Jr. died of pancreatic cancer on August 18 at the age of 67; his funeral Mass was celebratde on August 27 in Atlanta. The heartfelt obituary that follows was written by his friend, the journalist Sydney LeBlanc.
The financial services industry said goodbye to one of its founders and pioneers, Harold W. Gourgues, Jr., on August 18 after a very brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was well known and respected by a multitude of industry professionals.
An industry legend, Mr. Gourgues not only laid the foundation for consultative selling at Atlanta-based Robinson-Humphrey in the early ’70s, but is considered by his peers to be the bridge between financial planning and modern consulting. Before it became popular, Mr. Gourgues was teaching brokers, advisors, and planners to put their clients’ needs first and to use a disciplined process to add value. Dick Saunders, a first VP at Raymond James, says of his friend and colleague that “”Harold’s pioneering work with financial planning at Robinson-Humphrey, his active service on the Board of the International Association for Financial Planning, and his many writings and speeches to industry professionals have left a lasting imprint upon our profession. He was a creative and innovative force who profoundly touched the lives of untold numbers of financial planners and those who will follow them. Our profession and the clients it serves have been greatly enriched because of Harold Gourgues. His passing is a great loss, but his legacy to our profession will endure.”
In his last known industry interview in late 2004 with industry veteran journalist Sydney LeBlanc, Mr. Gourgues said “As I began reaching my own goals of financial success, I realized that I wasn’t any happier. As a matter of fact I was less happy because I was more worried about losing everything I had gained. I knew there was something far greater I was put on this earth to do.”