William Donald Gunnels, Sr

William Donald Gunnels, Sr., also known as “Soup, Bill, or Don”, passed from Earth to Heaven early on January 29, 2024. He was 91. He has been reunited with his bride of 67 years, Jerry, his parents, Ernest and Ruth, and his brother, Fred. His survivors include his children, William Gunnels (Susan), Vickie Richard (Todd), Diane Dotson (William), and Tim Gunnels (Kelly). His grandchildren fondly remember Paw Paw as well, Joshua Alost (Katie: great-grandchildren, Cooper and Caroline Alost), Jessica Alost (Fiancé Josh Hill), Stephen and Mallory Dotson, and Nathan, Aubrey, and Molly Gunnels. Don is also survived by his sister, Janice Gunnels, M.D. (Elaine Moore).

Called Donald from the crib, he was born in Magnolia, Arkansas on June 25, 1932. His parents lived on the site of a sawmill in Atlanta, Arkansas until Donald was 8. They lived in nearby El Dorado through his high school years. He worked as a teenager riding his bike to deliver papers, driving a school bus, and at a Kroger store. He played football and baseball for the “Wildcats.”
After high school he met the love of his life, Jerry Gaston. After being drafted and serving two years in the US Army, they married on November 14, 1954. Within a month Don was hired on at Monsanto in Luling, Louisiana where he worked his way up to be foreman in the plant.

Don was highly involved in his kids’ lives as a baseball and softball coach. He enjoyed hunting and fishing in the Louisiana wilderness. He was active in the Bible Center Church where he served many years as a deacon and youth adviser.

After retirement Don and Jerry moved to Hide-A-Way Lake near Picayune, MS in 1999. He was miserable for a while until he learned to fish the lake. His boat was a huge source of fun for grandkids to tube and fish. The day after Thanksgiving fish fry was a tradition.

His services will be Friday, February 2, 2024, at McDonald Funeral Home, 401 West Canal Street, Picayune, MS. Visitation will be at 10am followed by the service at 11am. After a brief graveside service at New Palestine Cemetery, friends and family are invited to a reception at the Hide-A-Way Lake Clubhouse.

In lieu of flowers please consider a memorial donation to the building fund of the Bible Center Church in Luling, LA.


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