Arnold Gunnels

December 22, 1927 ~ April 24, 2020 (age 92)


Arnold Gunnels, 92, of Smithville, was called home to be with the Lord on Friday, April 24, 2020.

He was born on Dec. 22, 1927 in Wayne, WV to the late Henry and Martha (Saunders) Gunnels.  Life on the farm made him physically strong and instilled a work ethic which carried him through until retirement at the age of 69.  Arnold often held two or three jobs at a time.  He left the West Virginia mines to come to Rittman with many others seeking employment at the Packaging Corporation of America.  He worked at the PCA for 30 years while volunteering with the Rittman Fire Department, he drove the ambulance for the funeral home which provided emergency services, served as a deputy sheriff for Wayne County for 9 years and owned a restaurant in Caldwell, OH for 12 years where he was widely known for his delicious pies.  While living in Caldwell, he served a  4-year term as Mayor.  He left Ohio for a time to continue his work in the folding carton industry bringing the  company he retired from, Field Container Corp., to world-class status.  He continued to do consulting work for them for another five years when he finally ended his travels to enjoy gardening and home life.  He was active in the Ambassador Baptist Church in Wadsworth where he served as a trustee for many years.  While he was hard-working, his true legacy is his humor.  Arnold had a joke or story for every occasion and the ability to bring comfort to a difficult situation for many.  He played his banjo and guitar at church and he loved his bluegrass music.  Arnold was preceded in death by his parents, an infant daughter, Darlene, brothers, George and Ulys, a sister, Lillie Hayes, two brothers-in-law, a sister-in-law and two nieces.  He is survived by his wife, Erica (Volkmann) Gunnels whom he married on March 14, 1987; son Don Gunnels of Wooster; step-son, Devin (Candi) Thiem of Valparaiso, IN; step-daughter, Robin (Terry)  Sinclair of Brook Park; daughters, Lisa Gunnels of Wooster, Mindy (Jon) Odenkirk of Charleston, SC and Stephanie Gunnels of Wooster; a sister, Ruth Dheel of Rittman; a sister-in-law, Wilma Gunnels of West Salem and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Private services will be held and burial will be in the Rittman Cemetery.  Tributes may be shared at  Memorial contributions may be made to Ambassador Baptist Church, 620 Trease Rd., Wadsworth, OH 44281.  Arnold loved life, loved his family and he loved his Lord.  He will be missed.

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