Gerald Trunnell (1921 - 2015)

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Gerald D. Trunnell
August 14, 1921 - November 17, 2015
Gerald D. Trunnell, 94, of Wilder, died on Tuesday, November, 17, 2015 at home of natural causes
On November 17th, 1915, the following was written by my Dear Grandmother, Cecil Trunnell, wrote this about herself: "They eloped! Cecil Green and Piercie Trunnell drove to Caldwell, Idaho by horse and buggy, then rode the train to Boise, Idaho where they were married on November 17th, 1915."
And….so it began: On November 17, 2015, on what would have the 100th Wedding Anniversary of Cecil and Piercie, their baby son, our beloved father, Grandpa and Great Grandpa, Gerald D. Trunnell, died at 94 years of age, having lived a life filled with hard work and love.
Dad was born on August 14, 1921, to Cecil and Piercie Trunnell of Wilder, Idaho - the youngest brother to Ailene and Bud Trunnell. Grandpa Piercie was one of the original homesteaders in the Wilder Valley and raised his children on a farm, where Dad learned how to work hard doing farm chores, milking cows and raising pigs. When chores were done, his free time was spent on horseback or on a football field. Always the athlete, Dad played football from grade school through high School in Wilder and then to Idaho State University where he enjoyed traveling all over the country to play football. The highlight of his football career was playing in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
In 1942, after only 2 years in college, with the US in the midst of WWII, Dad joined the Marine Corps and was sent to Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, for training to become a radio man. A beautiful young woman, Doris Jean Hargis, worked weekends, helping her Mother at the Evanston Serviceman Center. The Center was created to provide entertainment for the WWII soldiers before they were shipped off-shore. It was love at first sight for the Chicago Theatre Major and the farm boy from Wilder, Idaho. They spent their free time dancing in the big ballrooms to the Big Bands, Glenn Miller being one of their favorites.
Gerald and Doris married in February of 1943 and spent many happy times together on the beaches of
North Carolina before he was shipped out to the Pacific front. He spent the next two years as a radio operator on the beaches of the Marshall Islands, the Marianas, Iwo Jima and Guam. Dad manned the bulldozer with the blade up which acted as a barricade for the soldiers in their amphibious assault on the island of Iwo Jima - the only major battle in the Pacific War in which the U.S. Marines suffered greater casualties than they inflicted on the Japanese defenders, losing over 5000 men.
After the war, Gerald and Doris reunited in Wilder where they immediately moved into the farmhouse where Dad was born. The screened-in porch became the nursery, filled with 4 sets of Marine bunk beds and a crib. Fifteen children were born within the next eighteen years - between 1946-1964. Once the nursery was filled, Dad built a long extension to the main farmhouse which included lots of bedrooms and bathrooms. All the bricks came from the old Wilder High School that was being torn down at the time. Underneath the extension, he built a regulation-sized basketball court which was filled not only with Trunnell children, but also any Wilder kid or team that needed a place to practice, especially in the winter. They always knew they were welcome and would come in the front door and straight down into the basement. It always made Mother and Dad happy to hear the local kids playing basketball in the basement.
Sigmund Freud said, "Love and work…work and love…that's all there is."
That saying completely symbolized life as Mom and Dad knew it on the Trunnell farm. They not only raised a large family, but worked a large farm, converting sagebrush into fertile potato ground, using well-witchers to dig wells and kids to change sprinklers. Dad farmed his entire life and was still driving a tractor and irrigating at 87 years old. Our home was filled not only with siblings, but also with others - nieces, nephews, friends or relatives who needed a place to live. Some stayed for short periods; others stayed for years. Dad rarely passed a hitchhiker he didn't pick up and bring home to work on the farm. He didn't pay them much, but he gave them food to eat, a roof over their heads and often a car to drive - possibly without brakes but a car nonetheless.
Except for the war years, Dad spent his entire life in his community and actively supported the schools and businesses in Wilder. He was on the School Board (often with a child in every class) and was an active member of the Methodist Church and many local organizations. He never lost his love of dancing, going as often as possible to senior dances in his 80's. He loved people and hearing their stories. Visiting friends and neighbors brought him enormous pleasure as did farm auctions where he could visit and bring all kinds of things home - often to our Mother's dismay.
When Mom became ill in her 70's, Dad attended nursing classes and became a CNA so that he could care for her at home. After her death in 1996, he continued to live at the farm where his daughter, Robin, cared for him in his final years. How lovely that he was able to simply stop breathing, in his own bed, on his own farm, with his eldest granddaughter holding his hand. As many have said, our father was an incredibly strong and generous man - a "Man's Man" and the face of what Tom Brokaw called 'the Greatest Generation that society has ever produced." - "these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the "right thing to do.""
Gerald is survived by six sons: Blaine (Marcy) of San Francisco, CA; Duncan (Irene) of Fruitland, ID; Sid (Josette) of Rowlett, TX; Eric of Wilder; Malcolm (Cathy) of Livermore, CA. and Tracy (Sharon) of Wilder; seven daughters: Robin Trunnell of Wilder; Valerie Dickerson of Boise; Laurel (Jim) Macdonald of Moscow; Jean (Brendan) Pratt of Altoona, WI; Marcia (Dan) Brissenden of Salt lake City, UT; Olivia (John) Dean of Boise; and Rosemary (Steve) Lootens of Homedale; 40 grandchildren; 37 great grandchildren; five nephews and seven nieces.
Gerald was preceded in death by his wife, Doris, their oldest son Woody, their third son Whitney, his sister, Aileen Gregory, and his brother, Piercie Robert Trunnell.
Due to the limited seating available at the Methodist Church, a celebration of Dad's life will be held at the Crossroads Assembly of God Church (Corner of Hwy 19 and Hwy 95 in Wilder) on December 5, 2015 at 2:00 PM and lunch will be served immediately afterwards. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the United Methodist Church of Wilder, where Mother and Dad raised their family. Services are under the care of Flahiff Funeral Chapel, Caldwell. Condolences may be sent to


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Flahiff Funeral Chapels - Caldwell Chapel
624 Cleveland Boulevard
Caldwell, ID 83606
(208) 459-0833
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Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Nov. 22, 2015
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