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Obituary for James Gums


James W. Gums, 97, of West Salem, died on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at Salem Terrace. He was born on May 26, 1921, to August W. and Beatrice (Heaney) in Sparta, WI. He grew up and loved attending school in Minnieska, MN. Although Jim was a lifelong learner and an avid reader, he only completed the ninth grade. Minnieska did not have a high school. Jim set out on his own. While working on a farm in Trempealeau, he met the love of his life Marjorie Hale at the Trempealeau County Fair. Shortly thereafter, Feb, 1941, he enlisted in the Army seeking an adventure. He served from 1941-1945 in Washington State, Oahu, Hawaii, and Okinawa. Shortly after his Honorable Discharge, he and Marge were married February 23, 1946, at Wesley United Methodist Church in La Crosse. They created a nice life for themselves living in La Crosse and on French Island and were loving parents to son Jim and daughter Nancy. After 52 years of marriage, Marge preceded Jim in death in October, 1998. Jim began his professional life at Inland Printing as a pressman. After attending United Electronics Laboratories in Louisville, KY, he worked at Leithold Music Co as an electronic technician and eventually founded his own business. (He often said that had he been a young man today, he would have pursued a career in IT.) Upon his retirement at 65, he delivered flowers for years at Guenther's Flowers which he said was the happiest job a person might have. Faith was an important to Jim. He was raised Catholic. Upon marrying Marge, he became a faithful member at Wesley Methodist Church and remained for 65 years volunteering regularly. Driving to Wesley became a challenge; in 2011 Jim joined Our Savior's Lutheran Church in West Salem. Jim was a Charter member of the French Island Lions Club and a member of the Onalaska American Legion Post 52. In 1988 he received the Coulee Council of Drug and Alcohol Citizen of the Year Award. Jim went on the Freedom Honor Flight accompanied by his daughter Nancy, 2011. He had an lifelong passion for music and baseball and took up golf at 65 continuing to play until 3 years ago. Each day his goal was to complete the TRIBUNE'S crossword puzzle in 15 minutes or less. Jim and his long-time good friend and by then his “sweetie” Alice Olson were united in marriage in 2003 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church attended by family and close friends. They had 15 joyful years together...enjoying each other's families, their many friends, playing Skip-Bo, and traveling throughout the US by AMTRAK. Jim was survived by his daughter, Nancy (Richard) Huennekens of Racine, WI; six grandchildren, Theresa (Cliff) Richard of Belton, KS; Travis(Lauren) Gums of Seattle, WA; Kelly(Justin) Saye of Ventura, CA; Dana(Sean) McIvor of Chagrin Falls, OH; Beth Huennekens of Boulder, CO; and Scott Huennekens (fiance Julie Crawford) of Boulder, CO; nine great-grandchildren, Zane Richard; Lily and Ethan Gums; Xavien and Fahryn Francis and Soren Saye; and Monica, Colette, and Fiona McIvor; daughter-in-law Patricia Gums of West Salem; sister-in-law Margaret Hale of Holmen; and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by wife Marjorie; son, James L. Gums; grandson, James Bradley Gums; brother, August E. Gums; and brother-in-law Ray Hale. He is also survived by his loving wife Alice Gums of West Salem; step-children David (Kay) Running of Springfield, MO; Richard (Bonnie) Running of Viroqua, WI; Leigh (Kathy) Running of Rockland; Mark (Sue) Running of Viroqua; Lisa Lee of West Salem; and Kevin (Wendy) Running of Holmen; and many step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 16, 2018, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 359 N. Leonard St, West Salem. Pastors Jonathan and Jean Schmidt will officiate. Burial will be in Mormon Coulee Memorial Park Cemetery. A visitation will be from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. until the time of service Saturday both at the church. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem, is in charge of arrangements. In lieu flowers Salvation Army Our Savior Lutheran Church, West Salem Wesley United Methodist Church, LaCrosse The world was a better place with Jim in it. He could meet a stranger and within two minutes of talking with him he would become a friend. Jim was a gentleman and a “gentle man” in the true sense of the word. He accepted the way things were and not the way things ought to be. He will be greatly missed and loved by all who knew him. A special thank you to Trudy and Sheila and the entire staff at Salem Terrace where Jim has been a resident since Jan, 2018. The friendships and compassionate care gave Jim a special place to call home.