Gene Ernest Gunhus
Gene Ernest Gunhus of Pekin, North Dakota, passed away at age 77 years from COPD on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at the Care Center in McVille, North Dakota. Gene was born May 12, 1942 and graduated from Adams High School in 1960.
He was predeceased by his parents Ernest and Helen Gunhus. Gene is survived by his brother Jim Gunhus, sister Leanne Gilbart (Wes), nephews Jamie (Ashley) and David (Cindy), niece Kayla (Adam), great nephew Grayson, and great nieces Everleigh, Vayda, Skylar, Locklyn, and Berklee.
Gene was a principal and taught in several North Dakota schools focusing on music, speech, and drama. His passion was musical theatre, and he directed many school and community musicals. He always spoke fondly of his former students who brought him great joy. He served as a speech contest adjudicator and was recognized by NDHSAA for his work.
Gene served in the National Guard and was a Legion member. He spent his retirement running the “Pekin Iris Patch” and sold iris bulbs at several summer markets, spending many Saturdays at the Grand Forks Market. Gene was a founding member of the Nelson County Arts Council and enjoyed serving on the board for many years. He was honored to be chosen to receive their 2008 Outstanding Volunteer award.
The Arts Council helped organize a “Visit with Gene” celebration of life on November 10, 2019 at the Pekin Auditorium, because Gene wanted to have his “funeral” while he was able to be there and visit with everyone. He was thrilled that many of his former students and community members were able to attend or send cards and email messages. He was well enough at that time to give a speech about his life and share how happy he was to see everyone.
A graveside service will be held at the Gustavus Adolphus Cemetery, rural Adams, in the spring.
Special thank you to the Haugland and Avdem families, the Nelson County Arts Council, Gene's former students, and staff members from the McVille hospital, assisted living, care centre, and hospice who were so kind to Gene.
In lieu of flowers or memorials, please encourage and support your local school and community music, drama, and arts programs.
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