Monday, April 17, 2017
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
A vigil service will be held at 7:30 PM
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
St. Mary's Catholic Church
423 First Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
Throughout his rich and rewarding life, Robert “Bud” Gunneman was a blessing to everyone he met. He was hardworking and genuine with an unwavering faith that guided him along his life’s journey. Bud shared the majority of his life with his true love, and together they saw some of the most amazing places. A stranger to none, he loved spending time with friends, and a friend of Bud’s was a friend for life. Although more quiet by nature he loved laughing and had an amazing sense of humor that he regularly shared with all who were near. Life will never be the same without Bud here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that will be forever cherished.
It was great to be an American during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. This was the decade that witnessed the surge of ballroom dancing, and it was greats like Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth who made baseball America’s favorite pastime. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1925 when John and Gertrude (Elenbaas) Gunneman were filled with great joy as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Robert John on May 24th in Coopersville, Michigan. Always known as “Bud,” life wasn’t very easy for the Gunneman family while Bud was growing up. The dark days of the Great Depression covered our nation throughout the 1930s, and Bud’s family certainly felt the strain like so many others did. As the middle of three children, he was raised alongside his older sister and his younger sister, but sadly his younger sister passed away as a teen. Because of the trying times, Bud and his family frequently moved including 13 times in one year alone. For the most part, they never really settled. While in elementary school, Bud left school to help the family by working on farms.
As a young man, Bud was ready for all that life had in store. He was drafted into the United States Army during WWII in the early 1940s. Bud served under General Patton, and he faced several close calls during his time in the infantry. He was always so proud of his service. Upon returning home, Bud found work at a few different jobs but finally settled in at Lears where they made cabinets for radios and phonographs. He worked in shipping while there.
Bud’s work at Lears proved to be quite fateful as it was there that he met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Eleanor Lazoski, and she worked in the finishing department there. She was two years younger than him to the day, and he was smitten right from the start. They began dating with their first date being spent taking in a show and then going out for a hamburg. Bud eventually became a Catholic, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together they were married on July 1, 1950, in a large wedding at Sacred Heart Church. The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon traveling throughout the UP and around Lake Michigan. Bud and Eleanor returned to their new home together at 365 Gunnison, which was just around the corner from her parents’ home.
Throughout his life Bud was known for his strong work ethic. He spent more than 30 years working at Packaging Corporation, and he also drove a school bus for Kenowa Hills High School as a second job for many years. Since Bud wasn’t good with names, he was known to make up memorable nicknames for several of the kids.
Always one to be busy, Bud was a man of many interests. He and Eleanor bought a cottage on Bill's Lake where they went as often as they could for 52 years. They spent almost every weekend from March until September there, and he took great pride in working in the yard there. Bud and his wife were often out on the water aboard their pontoon boat during the summer, and during the winter they loved snowmobiling up there. In all that time spent at the cottage, Bud never learned to swim. In addition to snowmobiling, they also had a motorcycle for several years early in their marriage. When not riding with friends, he enjoyed working in his yard, and he was meticulous in it as well. Bud loved tinkering with his train set, and he had a shopsmith in the basement that he used woodworking skills to make children's toys. Over the years, he and Eleanor did some traveling - always with others. Several of their trips were taken with her brother, and they made it to Hawaii five times, Florida, and took several trips to the casino. Bud and his wife also enjoyed a trip to both California and to Yellowstone. Bud joined the American Legion Post in Croton when the post was established, and over the years he made several friends there. Bud and Eleanor attended St. Mary’s Church for more than 30 years, faithfully attending mass. Even if his wife couldn’t go, Bud went on his own.
Later in life, Bud continued to make the most of the days he was given. Although he relied on Eleanor for so many things throughout life, he enjoyed taking care of the yard work and shoveling snow. It was very difficult for Bud to give up these things as well as driving when his health began to limit him. He enjoyed seeding his nieces and nephews, and he was so thankful to the friends who helped them as needed so they could remain in their own home.
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Robert J. "Bud" Gunneman lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. He was quiet and thoughtful with a willingness to help others in any way he could. Bud and his wife exemplified what marriage is truly intended to be as they were soul mates, companions, and best friends. Although he will be deeply missed, Bud will be forever remembered.
Robert J. "Bud" Gunneman, age 91 of Walker, passed away April 15, 2017. Bud proudly served in the U.S. Army during WWII. He was preceded in death by his sisters Jean Larkin and Marilyn Gunneman. Bud is survived by his wife of 66 years, Eleanor; his brother-in-law and sisters-in-law Chet (Lois) Lazoski and Dorothy Towner; several nieces and nephews, and dear friends, Bill and Cheryl Bettys. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 11 AM at St. Mary's Catholic Church (corner of First and Turner NW). Friends may visit with his family at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW on Monday from 6-8 PM where a vigil service will be held at 7:30 PM. Memorial contributions to a charity of your choice are appreciated. To read more about Bud's life, to share a memory or sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com