Lela Gum Obituary

Lela Irene Gum, 93, passed away peacefully on Sept. 30, 2015 at her home at Aspen Quality Care in Spokane, Wash. She was married to her beloved husband, Ben Gum, for 71 years. She died surrounded by her three children who cherished every moment with her. She was born on April 25, 1922, to Charles and Ethel Gowen on a farm west of Laurel. She attended Laurel Schools and graduated as the valedictorian of her class in 1940, then attended Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., graduating in 1942.

Lela and Ben were married in Laurel on April 8, 1943. Ben worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad and Lela was a homemaker until she went back to college in 1958 and became an elementary school teacher. Because of Lela’s strong Christian faith, Ben became active in the Laurel United Methodist Church and received a call to the ordained ministry.

In 1961, the family moved to the Ruby Valley where Ben served churches in Sheridan and Twin Bridges. In all of the churches they served, Lela was as much a part of the ministry as Ben, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school, and participating with United Methodist Women. We knew her as the "Queen of Cookies", coffee hour, and potlucks. Lela loved music. She played the violin in high school and restarted taking lessons at 81. She often played duets with Ben when he played the piano. We always loved to hear her singing while she cooked. She was a sweet and loving mother who loved to cook and entertain. She instilled her love of reading in her children and in the hundreds of other children she taught.

Survivors include her children, Glenda Steffek, Gordon (Denise) Gum, and Myrna (Tom) Temte, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She was especially close to her nephew and his wife, Larry and Priscilla Cunningham of Billings, and to her sister-in-law, Kathy Gowen of Laurel.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Oct. 17 at the Huntley United Methodist Church with Rev. Gary Geiman officiating. In lieu of flowers, please send any memorial gifts to the Huntley United Methodist Church.