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Nancy Gunner

1940 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Nancy Gunner Obituary
Nancy Gunner

Nancy Kay (McNamara) Gunner died on the evening of February 4, 2016 in Sioux Falls, SD lovingly surrounded by her children after a long, valiant fight with cancer.

She was born on December 19, 1940 in Watertown, SD to Les and Marge McNamara and graduated with her beloved class of 1959 from Watertown High School. After graduating, she attended college in Aberdeen, SD until she attended a fraternity party at the University of South Dakota and met Larry Gunner. They were married on September 15, 1962 and after Larry graduated from dental school at the University of Minnesota, they settled in Martin, SD where Larry opened his practice and they began their many adventures. They raised their four children: Pam (Longmont, CO), PD/Philip (deceased), Eric (and Bill Roach, Delray Beach, FL), and Anna/Andrea (Sioux Falls, SD) and lived there for 36 years before they moved to Winner, SD and eventually Sioux Falls. In addition to her own children, she helped raise Wauneta (Curry) Lone Wolf McCall (dec.), Steve Johnson (dec.), and Eric Johnson, and several exchange students: Marco Aurelio de Suza (Brazil), Mik Fallesen (Denmark), Jean Francois Pernette (France), Elsa Viscarra Castro (Mexico), and Ignacio Sanchidrian (Spain), as well as Michelle Pernette (Jean's brother) and Signe Fallesen (Mik's daughter).

In her lifetime, Nancy owned two stores in Martin: a clothing store named Clancy's and a craft store called the Happy "Latch" Hooker (an ode to her latch-hooking mother, Margie). She held an appointed seat on the SD Lottery Commission and was the chairman of the Bennett County Republican Party for many years. She worked as the proof-reader/editor of the Lakota Times newspaper and also worked at Gunner Family Dentistry both in Martin and Winner. After she moved to Sioux Falls, Nancy worked at Coldwater Creek and volunteered at the Washington Pavilion.

The Arts held a special place in her heart and Nancy loved seeing plays and attending the symphony. She enjoyed theatre at the Black Hills Playhouse equally as much as Broadway in NYC. She especially loved the Sioux Falls Symphony and was an active member of the SF Symphony League. Nancy was an adventurous soul and loved to travel, visiting many countries around the world and making friends everywhere she went. We often told her to stop telling people "If you're ever in SD, look me up" because they always did; they all loved her. Her annual girlfriend's trips to Mexico were a highlight of her life. She seldom had idle fingers and was usually knitting something for someone's new baby or grandbaby. Nancy was an avid reader and always enjoying a good book - or two or three. Even while suffering the debilitating effects of her cancer, Nancy managed to read 86 books last year.

Always generous, Nancy gave her time and spirit to causes she held dear such as the Berakhah House, PFLAG, the Sioux Falls Banquet, and the Bennett County Library. She touched the lives of so many and her family is so grateful to the staff and doctors that helped her through this brave fight at McHale Institute, the Avera Prairie Center, Avera McKennan Hopsital and the Dougherty House especially Dr. Jerry Walton, Dr. Todd Sorenson, and Dr. Benjamin Solomon. Her infectious giggle and magnetic personality brought sunshine into so many lives. She will be dearly missed by all of those who were lucky enough to meet her.

In addition to her husband and children, Nancy's loss will be especially felt by her four grandchildren: Ryan and Darian Dillon (Anna) and Andy and Margaret Bartels (Pam), her four great-grandchildren: Tyson, Audryana (Adora-Bella), Gabe, and Gracelyn, her brother Donald McNamara and his wife Barbara and their children (Florida), her dear friends from the WHS Class of '59 (several of whom she attended school with from first grade), her SF knitting group and book club, her special friends Annetta Jutila, Judy Thronson, Sheila Williams, and Wally Haviland, and so very many more that it would take numerous pages to list them all.

In lieu of flowers, Nancy asks that you make a donation in her honor to the SF Symphony or to Feeding South Dakota.


Published in The Argus Leader on Feb. 6, 2016
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