July 17, 2017 – West Bend, WI – Leslie “Les” Edward Gundrum, 73, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at his home in West Bend, with family by his side.
He was born on March 21, 1944 in West Bend to Gregory and Mildred (nee Eckhart) Gundrum. He was raised in Slinger and graduated from Slinger High School in 1962. On April 8, 1967, he was united in marriage to Mariann Harrington.
Les was involved in agriculture his entire life. He was a farmer at heart. If he was not farming himself, he was helping others. As a youth, Les was involved in 4-H and FFA. While in FFA, he served as State FFA Vice-President in 1961-62.
After graduating high school, he was employed at Gehl Company and served a few years in the National Guard. Then he worked for Dairyland Seed but his passion was farming so he pursued a career in farm management. This led him to a 33-year career as an animal nutritionist with Farmer’s Grain and Feed in Allenton, WI, retiring in 2014.
Les was a very proud “Papa”. He enjoyed spending time with family and especially his 5 grandchildren, coloring, playing games and attending their school and 4-H functions.
Aside from his family, his greatest achievement was the Washington County Dairy Promotion Committee Inc. He was one of the founding members of the committee and took it upon himself to have the committee incorporated in 1986. To help promote dairy in the county, the Washington County Breakfast on the Farm was born. Although there were doubts, Les firmly believed this event could be a success. With Committee assistance, he spearheaded the first Washington County Breakfast on the Farm. Midway through the first breakfast, a volunteer stepped forward to host the event the following year.
This annual tradition continues to this day as the 30th annual Breakfast was held last month. When Washington County was chosen to host the 1995 Farm Progress Days, Les played an integral role in the planning and implementation of the event. Les was an active member of the Washington County Farm Bureau serving on their Board of Directors in several positions over the years. In 1991, he was the first member to receive the “Friend of Agriculture” Award. Les was also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 1964 and enjoyed attending their monthly meetings.
Les is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mariann; children Pamela (Steven) Kescenovitz of Slinger, Penny (Alan) Tank of New London, Cindy (Scott) Bellon of West Bend; grandchildren Alison and Melissa Kescenovitz, Danielle and Joshua Tank, Samantha Bellon; sisters Elaine (Ralph) Wagner, Rita Lochen, Diana (Mark) Weber and brother Robert (Linda) Gundrum; sister-in-law Colleen (Robert) Ruhnke; brothers-in-law Michael (Dorothy) Harrington and Tom (Maggie) Harrington. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Les is preceded in death by his parents, parents-in-law Michael and Dorothy Harrington and brother-in-law Paul Lochen.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12:30PM on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at Holy Angels Catholic Church (138 N. 8th Ave. West Bend, WI 53095) with Father Patrick Heppe presiding. Visitation will be at church from 9:30AM until 12:15PM. Interment will follow at Holy Angels Catholic Cemetery.
A special thank you to Dr. Gibson and Dr. Welsh, Horizon Hospice and all the thoughts and prayers from family and friends.