Byron ‘Gene’ Eugene Gunsolley, son of Floyd and Gladys Gunsolley, was born March 18, 1919 in Mondamin, Iowa and departed this life on September 21, 2009 at the Clearview Nursing Home in Clearfield, Iowa.
At the age of nine Gene’s family moved to Lamoni, Iowa and he graduated in 1937 from Lamoni high school. After graduation Gene worked for HyVee food stores in Lamoni and then enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1942 when World War II broke out. While Gene was on leave in 1944 from Guam, he was united in marriage to Clella Maleta Bohn on the 16th of February at the RLDS Stone Church in Independence, Missouri. After Gene’s discharge in November of 1945, he and Clella moved to Diagonal where he resided until July of 2009. Gene and Clella were the proud parents of three children, Byron Eugene, Jr., Francis Lee and Joy Lynn.
Gene had been trained as a mechanic in the air force and used these skills to open his own repair business in Diagonal after he was discharged from the air force. His shop was originally at the south end of Main Street and in 1955 he purchased the store that is now known as Diagonal Building Products that he sold to his son, Frank, in 1995. When Gene officially retired as a mechanic, he worked as an economic development specialist for MATURA, as parts manager for Mark Cornick Chevrolet and Dielman’s Auto Parts and finally retired as water superintendent for Diagonal.
Gene was the last living charter member of the Diagonal Lions Club, an active member of the American Legion Post 395 Diagonal, Iowa, until moving into the Clearview Nursing Home in Clearfield. He was a past commander of the VFW post in Creston, a member of the Ringgold County Development Board, a member of the Ringgold County Posse, past chairman of the RC & D board, served on the Diagonal school board, a past fire chief for the Diagonal Volunteer Fire Department and a member of the RLDS Church.
Gene was an avid hunter and fisherman with many family vacations centered around a hunting or fishing expedition. All of Gene’s kids got to experience sitting on the river or pond bank sometimes way past dark waiting for the fish to bite, swatting mosquitoes and not daring to make any noise so you wouldn’t scare the fish away. Gene’s volunteer work began when he moved to Diagonal and it was an important part of his life. After retiring, Gene was a daily visitor at the local coffee shop and could always be counted on for a colorful story and bit of wit.
Gene is survived by son Byron and wife Charlotte of Maryville, Missouri, son Frank and wife Joan of Diagonal, Iowa and daughter Joy and husband Jim Goins of Diagonal, Iowa; brother Leroy Gunsolley and wife Evelyn of Sheridan, Wyoming and Frank Gunsolley of Bishop, California; brother-in-law Wayne Bohn and wife Irene of Mount Ayr, Iowa; 10 grandchildren, Michelle (Jamie) Jaycox of Kansas City, Missouri, Christina (Bryan) Dulin and Katie Gunsolley (friend Jason) of Maryville, Missouri, Zach (Sarah) Gunsolley of Creston, Iowa, Brian (Jessica) Gunsolley of Ankeny, Iowa, Gina (Chris) Knox of Clearfield, Iowa, Dave Lott (friend Jeannie) of Kansas City, Missouri, Susan (Craig) Winemiller of Mount Ayr, Iowa, Ryan (Sarah) Goins of Waukee, Iowa and Jamie (David) Grandfield of Midlothian, Virginia; six great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Preceding Gene in death were his wife of 61 years, Clella; his parents, Floyd and Gladys, and sisters, Lois Huffman, Lorena Midgorden and Marie Greene.
Services were held at the United Church of Diagonal on Wednesday, September 23, 2009. Rev. Bruce Giese and Rev. John Beran officiated. Musicians were Judy Newton and Bert Lockard.
Casket bearers were Michelle Jaycox, Christina Dulin, Katie Gunsolley, Zach Gunsolley, Brian Gunsolley, Gina Knox, Susan Winemiller, Ryan Goins, Jamie Grandfield and Dave Lott.
Honorary pallbearers included Frank Gunsolley, Leroy Gunsolley, Wayne Bohn, Henry Greene, Willard ‘Bill’ Bentley and Clyde Hogue.
Military rites were conducted by Morris Herrold 395.
Memorials are to the Diagonal Lions Club and the Diagonal Development Corp.
Byron was laid at rest in the Diagonal Cemetery, Diagonal.