Written by Darla Downs
Larry Leroy Gunn of Billings, Mont., passed away Feb. 18, 2014, in Hamilton, Mont.
Larry was born Nov. 20, 1932, in Flaxville, Mont, to Russell and Vera (Krassin) Gunn. He was fifth of six children and the only boy.
Larry attended school in Wolf Point until eighth grade and then decided he liked working better. He found a job at the Ford garage sweeping the lot and parking cars. He quickly found his love of cars and anything “under the hood”, making auto mechanics his livelihood. He also worked on the Bartel and Fachner farms north of Wolf Point.
In 1952, Larry joined the military and was stationed in Washington and California. During the Korean War, he begged to be sent overseas to combat, but they refused since he was the only male in the family to carry on the Gunn name, so he served his country as a military police officer.
After his military service, he moved to Great Falls, Mont., and attended Central Assembly of God. And, there, at a Sunday evening service, he met Shirley Edstrom, who was a member of a traveling musical group from Northwest Bible College in Kirkland, Wash. That night, he decided she was the one who would be his wife and asked to be introduced. They were married April 30, 1961. In 2011, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Larry was unsettled early in marriage and moved his family back and forth between Great Falls and Seattle for six years. He finally settled in Bothell and then Snohomish, Wash.
There, he raised his three girls and began his own auto mechanics business. It was a regular occurrence for the phone to ring late into the night with car owners needing Larry’s advice on how to fix their car.
After retiring, Larry and Shirley sold the business and traveled south for a few years by motor home. They eventually moved to Montana again to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Larry was a member of Chapel of Hope Assembly of God in Billings, Mont. Larry decided he needed a savior in his 20s and gave his life to his Lord. He lived his life trying to be a godly example. When the church doors were open, his family went to church. His work ethic and character were an example to his girls, sons-in-law and grandchildren: prayer, giving, worship and service.
In 2010, Larry developed Parkinson’s Disease and was lovingly cared for by his wife, Shirley, until her death in 2012. He then lived with his daughter, Lauren, and her family in Stevensville, Mont., until his death.
Larry is survived by his three daughters, Pam (Dallas) Casterline of Wolf Point, Mont., Cindy (Kevin) Smith of Billings, Mont., and Lauren (Matt) Barthels of Stevensville, Mont.; seven grandchildren; three sisters, Pauline (Connie) Peterson of Billings, Mont., Norma Kalien of Wolf Point, Mont., and Shirley Olson of Laurel, Mont.; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Shirley; sisters, Juanita Hoch and Janice Bartel; stepfathers, John Knauffe and Ted Kerner; nephews and niece, Wally, Bob and Norma; and beloved brothers-in-law.
Services to celebrate Larry’s life will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Chapel of Hope in Billings, with interment to follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Smith Funeral Chapels assisted with arrangements.