Mary Elizabeth Gunn 1914-2011
GREAT BEND — Mary Elizabeth Gunn died peacefully on Wednesday, April 6 at Woodhaven Care Center in Ellinwood at 96 years, 8 months, and 6 days.
She was the oldest child of Ernest E. and Elizabeth Wesley Eppstein and entered the world at her parent’s home, 2545 16th Street in Great Bend, on July 21, 1914. She attended Great Bend schools.
After completing her B.A. degree at Fort Hays State University in 1935, she worked at The Great Bend Tribune. In 1936, she married Charles L. Gunn. They built their house at 3009 16th Street, Elizabeth’s home for 70 years. Their son, Charles Douglas, was born in 1939.
During her years as a homemaker, Liz was an active member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ. She served as president of the Kansas Women’s Fellowship and was the national leadership training chairman for five years. She was also the first chairman of the Barton County Red Cross blood program.
In 1961, she began teaching high school English at Great Bend High School and earned her M. A. degree in English at FHSU in 1967. After her retirement in 1980, she taught part-time at Barton County Community College. She and her husband were active in the GED program and Elizabeth received the Master Adult Educator Award of the Kansas Adult Education Association in 1986.
After her husband’s death in 1985, she worked for the BCC Center for Adult Education and became involved with the Center’s English as a Second Language program and the State Legalization Impact Assistance Grant program. Her efforts were recognized with the Kansas Reading Association Literacy Award in 1990.
Her memberships included the National Education Association, Barton County and Kansas Retired Teacher’s Associations, the AAUW, Delta Kappa Gamma, PEO, and an honorary membership in the Kansas Association of Teachers of English. Elizabeth loved to read, knit, and travel, completing numerous trips to Europe and England, as well as parts of the USA. She remained positive, vibrant, and engaged through all the decades of her life.
She was preceded in death by her three younger siblings, brothers Ernest and John, and sister Nell, and their spouses, and by her husband, and her son.
Survivors include her daughter-in-law, Virginia Railsback Gunn, Wooster, Ohio; two grandsons, Eric Gunn, Athens, Ohio; and Peter Gunn, Wooster, Ohio; her sister-in-law, Mary Gunn; and by numerous nieces and nephews and good friends who enriched her life.
A memorial service is scheduled at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 14 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Great Bend. The Reverend Stan Crawford will officiate. Private family inurnment will be at the Great Bend Cemetery. Friends may sign the register book from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 13, and 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, at the Bryant Funeral Home.
Memorials can be made to the First Congregational United Church of Christ or Fort Hays State Alumni Association or P.E.O., in care of the Bryant Funeral Home.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Bryant Funeral Home
1425 Patton Road
Great Bend, KS, 67530
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, April 10, 2011