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Laura Jean Gunn

Laura Jean Gunn
Laura Jean Gunn
- April 28, 2018

Laura Jean Gunn, age 89, of Wasta, South Dakota, died on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.

A visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1, at the Wasta Methodist Church in Wasta.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2, at the United Methodist Church in Wall.

Interment will be at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

Laura Jean Gunn, 89, Wasta, passed away on April 26, 2018, at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip. She was surrounded by her sons and daughters and the overwhelming love they had for her.

Laura Jean (Welsh) Gunn was born on April 22, 1929, to Harold and Mary (McDonald) Welsh in Wall, South Dakota. She graduated from Wall High School in 1947.

Laura Jean was united in marriage to George Gunn Jr. on June 1, 1947 in Wall. They made their home on their ranch south of Wall until moving into Wall, where George delivered gas for Standard Oil. In 1952 they moved to Wasta, where George served as Postmaster and owned Wasta Lumber and Hardware. She was the Wasta Assistant Postmaster from 1952 – 1953. They bought a ranch near Wasta in 1964, where they began ranching, and George continued his postmaster and hardware duties.

Laura Jean worked on Election Days as a volunteer election clerk. In 1997, the Election Day volunteers in Wasta were prohibited by then States Attorney General Mark Barnett from giving free pieces of pie to the residents that came to vote. Laura Jean was a large part of what is now called the "State of South Dakota Pie Day" held every December in Pierre, as an "apology to the small West River community of Wasta". She spent countless hours working for the Church, School, Fire Department, Wasta Boy Scouts, and was a 4-H leader. The annual "Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper" was a major project to help raise funds for the Church. She was a member of the Wasta Methodist Church for decades.

Laura Jean and Junior enjoyed being part of the Carroll McDonald Legion and the Legion Auxiliary in Wall. The Wall Legion Hall was named after her uncle Carroll McDonald. McDonald was killed in WW1. Laura Jean enjoyed bowling, square dancing, and quilting with her buddies.

Both Laura Jean and George followed their children and grandchildren in their school activities and were very active making long trips to support each one.

Laura Jean was known by all as a woman of great determination and unfailing good manners — both of which she executed with quiet power. She was a fierce and focused advocate for what she believed in — her family and community. She and George continued to reside on the ranch until his death in 2004. Laura Jean lived on the ranch until she was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2017. She was admitted to the Silverleaf Assisted Living Facility in Philip and resided there until being admitted to the Philip Hospital in January 2018, were she was a patient until her passing.

Grateful for having shared her life include her three sons Rodney Gunn and his wife Gloria of Rapid City; Terry Gunn and his wife Karen of Wasta; Scott Gunn and his finance Shannon Schaefers of Rapid City; three daughters Barbara Williamson and her husband Glen of Owanka; Jacqueline Johnson and her husband Paul of Pratt, Kansas; and Denise Nelson and her husband Tim of Midland; twenty grandchildren; thirty-four great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; one brother Dr. Gary Welsh and his wife Patricia; numerous nieces and nephews; and a host of other relatives and friends.

Laura Jean was preceded in death by her husband George (Junior), her parents, and three brothers; baby Welsh of Wall, Wesley Carroll Welsh and Gail Arthur Welsh.

The family requests memorials be directed to the Wasta Methodist Church, the Wasta Fire Department, or the New Underwood Boy Scout Troop.

Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Wall.



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