Barbara Gunnels Daily, 93, of Jackson, Wyoming, passed away peacefully on Feb. 20, 2019 at St John’s Living Center in Jackson, Wyoming surrounded by her loving family. She had recently moved to the Living Center from her home in the Snake River Canyon southwest of Hoback Junction.
She was born December 26, 1925 in Fowler, Indiana to Leo and Goldie Gunnels, and due to a raging snowstorm came into the world in the kitchen of her parents’ house. She grew up in Fowler and attended local schools, being valedictorian of the Fowler High School Class of 1943. While in school she was involved in music and dance, played the piano and oboe with the high school band, sang with the Cincinnati Symphony, and had her own radio program where she performed all the current hits.
She attended Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio (now a part of Miami University of Ohio), then moved the next year to Indiana University in Bloomington. She married her life-long sweetheart Jewell Daily on August 30, 1945 in Fowler after Jewell returned from the European Theater of WWII. She then followed her husband to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and received a BS in Psychology in 1948. She worked at Purdue in the accounting department until her husband was graduated from Purdue in 1950.
They moved back to Fowler in 1950 as her husband started teaching at Fowler High School, and her first son, John, was born in 1950. She continued as a homemaker for the next several years and was active in local charities, singing groups and clubs. Her second son Scott was born in Fowler in1954, and in 1964 she taught one year of elementary school on a one-year appointment. Enjoying her teaching experience, she returned to Purdue University full time to gain her teaching credentials. She taught 5th grade at Earl Park School and later at Fowler School until retiring in 1985. Along the way she took evening classes at Purdue and was awarded an MS in Elementary Guidance in 1970.
The family took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park in 1956 and enjoyed the experience enough to have her husband Jewell apply for summer jobs in several National Parks for the following year. She accepted an offer for Jewell from Grand Teton National Park and the family spent the next summer in GTNP in a tent at Beaver Creek just north of Moose. The family lived summers in the Park at various locations for the next 25 years. She was active in the outdoors, taking her sons on hikes all over the valley, and later played bridge all over the valley with varied sets of friends. In the mid-1970’s she learned to play Mah Jong from Helen Sanders, a Russian immigrant that lived with her husband Alex at the Brinkerhoff House on the shore of Jackson Lake.
In 1992 she and her husband moved full time to their house in the Snake River Canyon.
Her knowledge and love of Mah Jong resulted in her taking part in “Mah Jong and the West,” a movie filmed in Jackson Hole in the Summer of 2013. She appeared in the Mah Jong scenes of the movie as the arbiter of all rules, as well as offering advice to the main character later in the film. She enjoyed the experience and the folks involved greatly, and often talked of “my movie.”
She played and taught Mah Jong until recently, having passed along the love of the game to her family as well as many folks at the Senior Center of Jackson Hole, where she could be found almost every Thursday afternoon amid a gaggle of her friends. She even exported her love of Mah Jong to a small group of friends back in her old hometown of Fowler, Indiana.
Barbara was a recent resident of St. John’s Living Center where she was cared for by a most wonderful and compassionate staff as well as Dr. Bruce Hayse. She was preceded in death by her husband Jewell T. Daily in 2000, as well as her older sisters Laura Gunnels Beck and Doris “Dot” Gunnels Trump, her parents Leo and Goldie Livingston Gunnels and great-granddaughter Brooke Daily. She is survived by her sons John (Carolyn) Daily and Scott Daily, both of Jackson, and grandchildren Jennifer (Kollin) Daily Green of Jackson and Jeremy (Lisa) Daily of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, as well as her great-granddaughters Sarah, Savannah, Trinity, Zoe, Selah, and Kareese, and her beloved granddog, Sargie.
She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Davey Jackson Chapter), Society of Indiana Pioneers, Colonial Dames, Society of New England Women, Dames of the Court of Honor, Kappa Kappa Kappa Sorority, Western College Alumnae Society, Purdue Alumni Society, Indiana Retired Teachers Association, Fowler United Methodist Church, and an associate member of Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Jackson. She was a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.
Visitation was at Shepherd of the Mountains on February 24 with services at the church on February 25.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Grand Teton Association, Moose, WY, the Fowler United Methodist Church, Fowler, IN, Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church (Circle of Care), or the Senior Center of Jackson Hole.