Services for Gwendolyn Charlotte Gaines, 95, who passed away Oct. 24, 2020, at Peabody Health and Rehab in Peabody, Kansas, will be announced at a later date.
She was born Aug. 15, 1925, at Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton, Kansas, to Ernest C. and Lucy Robinson Wilcox. She was baptized in Peabody Methodist Church and was a faithful lifelong member. She graduated from Peabody High School in 1944. She played drums in the school band and orchestra.
Gwen enjoyed working for what became Starr Drug Store during her high school years. After graduation, she worked as secretary for Dr. Harry Brown, the superintendent of schools and then at Peabody State Bank until her marriage.
She met the love of her life, Harvey “Tony” Gaines at a Santa Fe Park summer band concert. He walked her home carrying her drum. They were together until his death. Gwen and Tony were married on Palm Sunday, April 8, 1945. She often laughed as she told the story they originally had planned to marry on April 1, 1945, but she thought better of marrying such a joker on that day.
Gwen then became a farm wife and helped Tony. She cleaned the separator and drove trucks full of grain from the fields to the elevator. She liked to cook and bake. The farm hands never went home hungry. One high school-aged farmhand loved her Lazy Daisy Cake so much she made it for him when he went away to college.
Her grandchildren have wonderful memories of their annual family chicken cleaning. Her homemade macaroni and cheese always was the first dish emptied at family gatherings.
Peabody Historical Society dinner guests always enjoyed her renowned cream puffs for dessert.
She was a member of Eastern Star, United Methodist Women, Athena Club, and History Club. She taught children’s Sunday School class for many years.
After Gwen and Tony retired from farming, they moved to Peabody and lived on Walnut St. They loved their house in town. Together they would sit on the front porch and watch vehicles traveling up and down the street. Their house was on everyone’s list for great trick-or-treat bags filled with candy and handmade popcorn balls.
Another joy was having the high school band march to the house during practice and play a tune or two for them. Of course, the band always was rewarded with refreshments. Their front lawn was a meeting place for family and friends for the annual Fourth of July and Homecoming parades.
For many years, Gwen was the docent for Peabody Historical Museum. During the summer months, she greeted many visitors to the museum. During the school years when the museum was closed, she happily gave tours to the many grade school classes that visited the museum. She loved sharing the history of Peabody with children.
Gwen’s interview with author Lowell May about the Prisoner of War Camp in Peabody was included in his book about the German Prisoner of War Camp in Concordia. She was also included in “The Women of Peabody,” published by the Peabody Historical Society.
Gwen is survived by her daughter Marcia and her husband Larry Cooper, Manhattan; son David and wife Cindi Gaines, Peabody; grandchildren Toni (Steve) Boals, Overland Park, Tracy (Mike) Jackson, Mission Hills, Jennafer Gaines-Sevart, Peabody, Jason Gaines, Tampa, Florida, and Ryan (Tiana) Gaines, Peabody; great-grandchildren Zach (Bailey) Boals, West Des Moines, Iowa, Mitchell Boals, Towson, Maryland, Madeline Boals, Overland Park, Grace Adams, Seattle, Washington, Laura Adams, Chicago, Illinois, Ariel (Zach) Burson, Newton, Josh Sevart, El Dorado, Joey (Chloe), Hasting, Emporia, Abby Biddle, Wichita, Lukas Gaines, Tampa, Florida, Kasey Gaines, Tampa, Florida, Bo Gaines, Peabody, and Bristol Gaines, Peabody. Great-great-granddaughters Taylor Burson, Newton, and Addison Boals, West Des Moines, Iowa, expected in March 2021.
Her husband of 72 years, Harvey “Tony” Gaines, preceded her in death on April 10, 2016. She also was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Harold Wilcox, and his wife, Eleanor.
Baker Funeral Home is assisting the family. A memorial fund has been established with Good Shepherd Hospice, 301 N. Main, Suite 300, Newton, KS 67114.