On December 21, 2020, after a brief illness, Eleanor Gunnell Lewis (79) died peacefully, leaving behind a legacy of love, laughter, and selfless service.
Eleanor was born in 1941 and raised in Smithfield, Utah, the oldest surviving child of Blanche Winn and LaGrande Baxter Gunnell. She grew up on a farm, learning how to work hard and play hard with her younger siblings, Robert, Mary Jean, and Joyce.
After graduating from North Cache High School in 1959, Eleanor went to Utah State University on scholarship, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with minors in English and Fine Arts. For three summers during her college years, she also worked as a secretary at Del Monte’s corporate offices in San Francisco; she loved recalling her big city adventures as a farm girl from Cache Valley.
With a degree in hand, Eleanor began her teaching career in Bountiful, Utah in 1963. Over the next 28 years, she would teach elementary school in Logan, Clifton, and Dayton, and then middle school English and Technology classes in Preston, earning district and state recognition for her excellence. Her students remember the stories she enthusiastically read aloud, her kind encouragement, and her store of BYU jokes (she was a USU Aggie through and through).
In eighth grade, Eleanor had fallen in love with a handsome high school boy, Ronnie Lewis, who was playing the lead role in Brigadoon. As a sophomore, she worked up the courage to ask him to a girls’ choice dance and was astonished when he said yes. Ten years later, Ron and Eleanor were sealed in the Logan, Utah LDS Temple, and remained sweethearts through their 53 years of marriage, raising two daughters in a home filled with music, love for family, and love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Eleanor served in many callings, including as Relief Society President, Young Women President, Ward Organist, Logan Temple worker, and senior missionary in Argentina with her husband. Her faith was a powerful guiding force in her life, enacted through many long conversations, caring notes, and home-cooked meals shared with those in need. Eleanor will be remembered for the Christ-like love she shared with all of us, as a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents who rejoice in her life and in her return home.
Eleanor is survived by her husband Ron, her daughters Kathryn (Curtis) Isaak and Kristen (Jonathan) Burton, her brother Robert (Linda) Gunnell, her sister Joyce (Gilbert) Larson, and her grandchildren Chloe, Liam, Tyler, Isaac, Tomas, Audrey, and Nathan. She was preceded in death by her older brothers George and Jay, her sister Mary Jean, her mother Blanche, and her father LaGrande.
A viewing will be held at Webb Funeral Home, 1005 South 800 East in Preston, Idaho on Monday, December 28, 2020 from 9:30 – 10:30am, with a funeral for family and close friends to follow at 11:00am. Due to concerns about COVID-19, we respectfully request that masks be worn.
The service may be viewed live online by clicking here.
Interment will be at the Richmond, Utah Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Eleanor requested that donations be made to LDS Humanitarian Services.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at Webb Funeral Home.