A Beautiful Birthday in Heaven


L to R — Front row: Mary Deane (cousin of D.C.G.), Clara (daughter #1), Charles (son), Michael, Tim, Addison, Marti (daughter #3), Daddy, Peg (daughter #4), Jon, me (Louise, daughter #5), Abby and Katie. Back row: Jack (married to Mary Deane), Hal, Gloria, Nicole, Jeff, Claire, Jackson, Bill and Joe. Absent: Helen (daughter #2) and grandchildren Christina, Josh and Kevin. (Click on photo once or twice to enlarge.)


Many happy returns of the day of thy birth,

May sunshine and gladness be given,

And may the dear Father prepare you on earth

For a beautiful birthday in heaven.*


Ninety-two years ago today on September 16, 1918, my dad, Deane Charles Gunderson, was born on a farmstead at the southwest corner of section 24 of Roosevelt township, between Rolfe and Pocahontas, Iowa.

This family photo was taken two years ago immediately before Daddy’s 90th birthday celebration at Dan and Roger Allen’s Bud Barn in Rolfe. That same barn was originally at the location where my dad was born. Roger and Dan had the barn moved into Rolfe in 1982.

In this photo Daddy was definitely having fun; in everyday life, the twinkles in his eyes were even more evident, indicating the imminent telling of one of his many chuckles-worthy “stories.”

In an effort to help with understanding who is who** in the photo but to also allow somewhat for privacy, I indicated the first name for each person in the photo. If you are curious about any of the familial relationships of those mentioned, feel free to ask me in an email. mariongundersonart@gmail.com

* * * * * * * *

*Mother (Marion Gunderson) included this verse in her collection of favorite quotes/readings. As I was growing up, and as recently as Daddy’s 91st birthday, when we were seated around the round oak table at Gunderland with cake in the middle of the table and celebrating a family member’s birthday, we would recite this verse just before the blowing out of birthday candles.

**Is “who is who” correct? This web site says it is, and we KNOW that everything on the web is correct!!! I remember at dinner at that same round oak table, Daddy would oftentimes correct my grammar. I could use one of his grammar lessons now!

(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


7 Responses to “A Beautiful Birthday in Heaven”

  1. Nancy Says:

    What a wonderful photo, Louise! So glad people cooperate on such occasions, all grumblings and murmurings aside, for the sake of those special memories. What a wonderful family, including all those not able to attend that day.

    I forgot that your dad and Phil shared the same birthday. So today, Phil celebrates his 84th birthday. Phil always tells the birthday person, “And may you have many more.”I’d better find his card and wish him the same! Bette is taking him to the Spencer fair for his birthday. With fourteen birthdays to celebrate with those still left on the farm, we get our fill of cake, and then some. If the cake baker is ambitious or we have extra family members returned for the celebration, there are sometimes two cakes!

    Nancy Brinkman

  2. Clara Hoover Says:

    Very nice! I especially like the red and gold font used for the verse.

    Louise: Your mention of the “twinkles” makes me think of the night we all met at Lidderdale to celebrate Daddy’s BD and he went to his car and came back with his cream-colored, felt hat on which he’d specially trimmed the brim to make it more to his liking.

    Nancy: Yes, Daddy and Phil enjoyed celebrating their BDs together. I think they did that frequently. Of course, it’s Monica Sernett’s BD, also, She was born the same year as Daddy.

  3. Clara Hoover Says:

    Actually, he was beaming from ear to ear and very proud of his hat-trimming work.

  4. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Nancy and Clara: How fun to read your comments. Thank you for writing them.

    Nancy: I wish I had called Phil today to wish him a happy birthday. I remember spending September 16th two years ago on Daddy’s 90th and Phil’s 82nd with Bette and Phil, Daddy, Peggy (and maybe Gloria and Charles?). We invited Bette and Phil and told them they could either have Daddy’s standard meal of hard boiled eggs, two kinds of cheese, canned peaches, four or five baby carrots and also a roll…or they could bring their own sack lunch! Daddy showed them his trick for peeling hard boiled eggs. After supper we all went out and marveled at the harvest moon. It was such an exceptionally rich evening being with such fine people. I’m so glad you commented; had you not, I might not be remembering that night just right now. We all had so much fun, laughing with Daddy and Phil, and also finding humor in just their genuinely fun personalities.

    Also, Nancy: Thank you for your kind words about our family, and likewise to yours. Your family get-togethers just have to be so fun, kind…and fun!

  5. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Clara: I definitely remember that hat of which Daddy trimmed the brim because he thought it was too wide for his liking. Who would have ever thought of doing that!!! But, he wore it so proudly and it was his “good” hat! I’m glad you mentioned that night at Lidderdale because, although I know Daddy wore the hat up until the last 12 days of his life, I had forgotten when he first showed it to us. Thank you for bringing back to me that memory. I DO remember him beaming and being so happy to show off his hat as he came back into the restaurant from his car.

    How many people actually take a pair of scissors and trim off the brim of their hat…and have it be their “best” hat?!!!!!!!!

  6. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    The 16th I often thought of Daddy. It’s a wonderful verse – especially so this birthday.

    I just totally envision the birthday celebration with Bette and Phil.

    Such wonderful families.

  7. Peg Moore Says:

    A belated response here, but I ***love*** that photo!!! Thanks for posting it, Louise! Great memories of that day . . . and even of having that photo taken. šŸ™‚

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