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Gladys Irene (Sunnes) Steward, age 88, passed away on Nov 10, 2023 at Thedacare Appleton (AMC), Appleton, WI
Gladys, a second generation Norwegian American, was born at home in Story City, Hamilton County, Iowa on September 13, 1935, to the late Sherman Elmer Sunnes and Anna Gunhilda (Gabrielson) Sunnes. She was baptized and confirmed at Elm Lutheran Church in Randall, Iowa. She attended Ellsworth District #7 school. It was a one room country school and graduated from Randall Consolidated High School in Randall, Iowa in May 1953. Gladys sang in the church & school choir, and also played trombone in the school band. The school band had the honor of playing in a parade for Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
In August 1953 at age 17, Gladys went to work in Washington D.C. for the FBI as a fingerprint analyst. She worked there for 6 ½ years. She met her husband Lyle while in Washington D.C., as he was stationed at the Pentagon with the US Navy. She has an autographed photo from her boss, J Edgar Hoover. Gladys & Lyle were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wisconsin on June 8th, 1957
Their travels took them to Mexico, Newfoundland Canada, Scotland, Germany, Spain & Gibraltar. Naval assignments took them to Long Beach & San Diego, California; Kenitra, Morocco; Norfolk, Virginia; Swansea, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island. She also traveled to beautiful Alaska to visit family.
While living in Morocco, she was a Girl Scout leader, President of the Navy Wives Club and had a radio program for the Navy wives. Living the good life, she had a Fatima (a maid) and a gardener. It was fun, adventure and traveling. A life not realized for many, especially a farm girl from Iowa. In Virginia, she earned many bowling trophies with the Tidewater Womens Bowling Association. Being a novice, it was quite a feat to win a tournament.
At one time, Gladys had 3 sons in the US Air Force. They were also all stationed at the same base, at the same time! She had a son in law in the US Air Force as well, and with her husband in the US Navy, it made for quite a family picture.
Sometimes in life you do crazy and silly things. Hers was riding across Lake Winnebago from east to west on the frozen ice, about 10 miles. It was an eerie and exciting thrill ride, all at the same time! Something she never repeated again. After family & friends, her interests and hobbies were flowers & birds, bowling, puzzles, reading and watching Iowa sports.
Survivors include a daughter Kathy (Kenneth) Pluger of Shiocton, WI; 3 sons, Tony (Anna) Steward of Kaukauna, WI, Todd Sr. (Barbara) Steward of Neillsville, WI, Ty Steward of Omro, WI. 8 grandchildren: Anna Dawes, Sarah Prelesnik, Autumn (Christopher) O’Connell, Christopher (Ashley Waters) Steward, Todd Steward Jr, Sean (Briana) Steward, Myles Steward & Logan Steward. 6 great grandchildren: Brian Jr. (Caitlyn) Dawes, Zoe & Eli Prelesnik, Chase, Natalie & Liam O’Connell; and 1 great great grandson Hank Dawes. A sister in law: Grace Sunnes of Hawkeye, Iowa; Diane Barrett of Appleton, WI, Eloise Thede of Stoughton, WI, Audrey Thede of Black Creek, WI and several nieces, nephews & cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Lyle of 65 years; her brothers Raymond (Lillian) Sunnes, Sterling (Margaret) Sunnes, & Marvin Sunnes; all of Iowa; a grandson Eric Pluger, and several brother & sister in-laws.
Services will be held at Valley Funeral Home, 2211 North Richmond St, Appleton, WI. at 11am on Nov 17th 2023. Visitation will be from 9am -11am. Burial will be at Bovina Cemetery in Shiocton, WI.
To all those who knew me, helped me and loved me, my heart is with you and you will never be forgotten. The Lord will bless you.
God saw you getting tired, when a cure was not to be. He closed his arms around you and whispered, “Come to me”. In tears we saw you fade away. Our hearts were almost broken; fought so hard to stay. But when we saw you sleeping so peacefully, free from pain, we could not wish you back, to suffer so again.
So keep your arms around her Lord and give her special care. Make up for all she suffered and all that seemed unfair.