Friend's love kept tennis star Gussy Moran in the game to the end

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When the colon cancer got bad recently and Moran was hospitalized at Good Samaritan, where Jurgens says she was treated like "VIP royalty," there was a need to establish her next step. The options were nursing homes or home hospice. Home hospice was a problem because Moran's apartment had no stove, refrigerator or microwave. Moran wanted to go home, so Jurgens bought the stove, refrigerator and microwave.

And more.

"It was just a week ago, and we were sitting on her hospital bed, looking at carpet colors," Jurgens says. "I had all the whites and the beiges, but I knew she always wanted a red carpet. She said, 'C'mon, girl. Let's go red.'"

By the end of the next day, the appliances and all the red carpet were in.

Next, Moran had to sign herself out, to the hospice care, which is usually the final stop before death.

"So there she is," Jurgens says, "knowing what she is signing, and she is telling the nurses to be nice to me — yes, to me — because I had lost my husband this summer. That was her. Complicated and full of love."

Sometime next week, when Jurgens, as executor of Moran's will, gets the ashes, a group of friends will gather and release them into Santa Monica Bay.

That was Moran's wish.

It will be a dignified ceremony for a life that ended in dignity.

That was Jurgens' doing.

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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