Barbara Jean Gunnell

Jul 13th, 1931 - Feb 2nd, 2021


Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home

Sat, Feb. 6th, 2021 10 am - 10:30 am


Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home

Sat, Feb. 6th, 2021 10:30 am


Egyptian Memorial Gardens

Sat, Feb. 6th, 2021

Barbara Jean Gunnell

Born to Ruth and Ernest Marsh in Chicago, Barbara Gunnell died after a lengthy illness on 2/2/2021.  She went to Nash Elementary, where at age 12 she was told by a patrol guard to stay on the sidewalk.  She later married that patrol guard, Donald Gunnell, a Chicago Police Officer & Illinois State Police Ballistics specialist, who preceded her in death Jan 2018.  They were married 68 years, intensely devoted to each other with a rare love. Barbara was a strong, smart and creative woman, raising three children in a tiny house as Don worked three jobs.  Barbara was a housewife for many years.  Family members have memories of ‘skinny pancakes,’ cherry pie, pot roast (fond) and homemade bread (humorous). Later working in accounts receivable, she advanced professionally with each job recognizing her robust organizational skills.  Barbara valued God, family, honesty and kindness.  She served her church in various capacities, as a Sunbeam age 2, later a Sunday School teacher for decades and AWANA youth leader. She held various offices in PTA and named the local grammar school upon its’ renovation. On retirement, Barbara became active in Shawnee Quilt Guild. She created with 3 others the Kids’ Quilts charity, making quilts for children undergoing stressful times, enthusiastically contributing her philanthropic, administrative and sewing talents for 20 years. Barbara was interested in genealogy, becoming a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1990. An avid reader, cross word puzzle worker, animal magnet (despite her antipathy), she will be missed by many.  She is survived by her children, Dr. Kathy (Chris Goode) Gunnell, Dona Howell and Dan (Maureen) Gunnell; her grandchildren Claire & Laure Goode, Becky (Adam Berry) and Matt (Gidion) Howell, Conor Gunnell; sister-in-laws Rose Gunnell and Kay Marsh and numerous nieces and nephews.   Her brother, her parents and grandfather Dolphe Alexander are awaiting her in heaven, as is her love Don, who will say, ‘GREAT to see you–what took you so long?’

Funeral services will be Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 10:30 am at Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home with Pastor Rick Strole officiating.  Entombment will follow in Egyptian Memorial Gardens.  Visitation will be Saturday from 10 am until the time of service at the funeral home.

Due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 virus, social distancing and the wearing of masks will be required.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
Shawnee Quilt Guild Kids’ Quilts

      c/o B Giffen, 138 McDowell Rd, Murphysboro IL 62966

Illinois Police Association Scholarships, Gunnell Fund

    c/o John Frost, 103 Kirk Lane, Carterville IL 62918

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8 Guestbook Messages

  • Guest: Sandy Aul

    From: Kempner, Texas

    Date: February 3, 2021

    It has been an honor to have known and worked with Barb and her daughter, Dona on Kids’ quilts for Shawnee Quilters. Barb was one of the first to welcome me into the group. Her joyful demeanor and beautiful creativity will surely be missed. Our thoughts and prayers for the family.

  • Guest: Ralph and Janice

    From: Marion, Illinois

    Date: February 3, 2021

    We will miss the many lovely memories we made with such a fun and funny friend🤗
    We are praying comfort for the family.🙏🏻

  • Guest: Eva Schnitzler

    From: Artesia, California

    Date: February 3, 2021

    Both of our Moms tolerated our antics, and the many meals shared at each other’s houses. Your Mom was always kind and generous. She will be greatly missed.

  • Guest: Sandy Kiehna

    From: Austin, Texas

    Date: February 4, 2021

    My thoughts and prayers are with your family as you say goodbye to this wonderful lady.

  • Guest: Cathy Cooksey Douglas

    From: Palmetto , Florida

    Date: February 4, 2021

    I have fond memories as a child of this lovely lady when her children would come to Marion to visit our neighbors, their grandparents, for the summer. Her daughter Kathy and I became fast friends and couldn’t wait for another visit. Ms Gunnell was always so kind I’m sorry we lost touch over the years. My thoughts are with her precious family.

  • Guest: The Demuth Family

    From: Springfield, Illinois

    Date: February 6, 2021

    Barb was a sweet person. Since we have known Dan’s family, Barb and Don always treated us like an extended part of their own family. She will be missed here, but we take solace in that she has been reunited with Don. Our thoughts and prayers to the entire Gunnell family in this time of sorrow and grief.

  • Guest: Parise Family

    From: Ottawa, Illinois

    Date: February 9, 2021

    We are so sorry to hear of Barbara’s passing. She was such a wonderful person. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  • Guest: Crystal Watson

    From: Joliet, Illinois

    Date: February 9, 2021

    Condolences to the Dan Gunnell and Family. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.