Gunn, Elmer Coleman


October 11, 1888 - December 22, 1950
Elmer Coleman Gunn was born on October 11, 1888, at Isney, Alabama, and passed to his eternal reward from New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 22, 1950. He was a son of Isaiah T. Gunn and Sara Jane McEachern Gunn.
On April 29, 1918, he was married to Miss Hilda Mae Conerly at Gloster, Mississippi, where he was at the time pastor of the Methodist church. Mrs. Gunn, together with a daughter, Mrs. James E. Parkman, survives him. It was in the home of this daughter, where he had gone for the Christmas season, that he suffered a heart attack while resting upon the bed, and passed away. Brother Gunn was devoted to his family and their happiness and welfare was among his chief concerns. He was indeed a devoted husband, a kind father and a true friend.
His early education was received in the public schools in the community where the family resided. His college work was done at Millsaps College. Brother Gunn was received on trial into the Mississippi Conference during the session held in Jackson, December 11-16, 1907. He was ordained deacon in 1910 and elder in 1912.
In the Mississippi Conference he served the following charges: Junior Preacher on the Sharon and Mission charge for several months; Mayersvule, three years; Gloster, two years; Long Beach, three years; East End, Meridian, two years.
In October, 1918, while pastor at East End, he entered the chaplainry of the United States Army and in the month of November was sent over-seas with the American Expeditionary Forces. While overseas he was sta-tioned at Grevers, France. In July 1919, he returned to the States. After returning to civilian life he continued his military service as chaplain of the 31st Division of the National Guard from 1922 to 1940. In this service he attained to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
In November, 1919, he was transferred to the Louisiana Conference and stationed at Rayne, Louisiana, where be remained for two years. Other appointments in this conference served by him are as follows: Bogalusa, three years; DeRidder, one year; Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, two years; Monroe District, four years; First Church, Lake Charles, four years; New Orleans District, six years; Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, seven and one-half years.
In May 1948, he suffered an attack of coronary thrombosis, which necessitated his retirement at the session of the Annual Conference held in Baton Rouge, June 2-9, 1948. After some weeks spent in a hospital in New Orleans and in living quarters to which his family had gone while he was in the hospital, he moved to the grounds of the Seashore Methodist Assembly at Bioxi, Mississippi. While he never again recovered his old vigor, yet, at the Seashore Assembly, rest and relaxation sufficiently restored his physical condition for him to assume the responsibilities of Secretary of this assembly. He held this position at the time of his death.
E. C. Gunn was a man of action and of great energy. He never spared himself in the work of the Church that he loved. He was also a man of sincere religious experience and was in the habit of spending time in prayer and Bible study in the beginning of the day. He was not always understood, but was a man of honest convictions. It was my privilege to have worked with him for a number of years in the cabinet. There were times when arranging the appointments came to be a task that hardly seemed possible to work out. I have known him to come forward with suggestions of appointments that touched every part of the conference. After careful consideration these suggestions have often been approved by the Bishop in charge and have worked out to the best interest of all who were concerned. He was always fair in this serious work and sought to make every adjustment that would be for the best.
He served this conference on various boards and committees and was for several years President of the Conference Board of Missions. For a number of years he was a member of the Board of Church Extension of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and was a member of this body at the time of his death.
One of Brother Gunn’s greatest contributions to Louisiana Methodism was made as a member of, and for several years, Chairman of the Conference Commission of the University Church and Student Center at the State University. To this movement he gave much thought and effort. To him is due very much of the success of this most important conference undertaking. There were times when this whole enterprise seemed hopeless, but he never gave up.
The esteem in which he was held by his fellow members of the Louisiana Conference was shown when he was sent as a delegate to the General Conference of 1938 the last session of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as an alternate member of the Uniting Conference and as a member of the first Jurisdictional Conference of the South Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church.
Here is the record of the forty-three years as an itinerant preacher of the Methodist Church. Forty-one and a half of these he spent in the active relation. At the call of the heavenly Father he has laid aside the responsibilities and work of the church militant and has gone on to join the church triumphant.
It singeth low in every breast,
We hear it each and all;
A song of those who answer not,
However we may call.
They throng the silence of the breast;
We see them as of yore,
The kind, the true, the brave, the sweet,
Who walk with us no more.
—Jno. W. Chadwick.
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 168-170, 1951 by W. L. Doss, Jr.

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