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Obituary for Alice Gums

Alice Kirkeeng, Running, Olson, Gums of West Salem, Wisconsin passed away Friday, March 18, 2022 in Viroqua, Wisconsin. High atop Fish Creek Ridge in Monroe County, Wisconsin, nestled among the beautiful rolling hills is a well-cared for 80 acre farm with a part log, part frame home surrounded by towering cottonwood trees. It was September 2, 1930. Wilhelm and Clara Kirkeeng were expecting their second child. Grandma Klara Kirkeeng, who lived on the neighboring farm and had been trained as a midwife had been summoned to attend to the delivery. A healthy, beautiful baby girl was born and she was named Alice Christina Kirkeeng. Alice’s formative years were spent helping with farm chores and household duties. She attended Grandview School, grades 1-8, and it was there she found her love of teaching. After attending High School at Cashton, she attended the two-year rural education course at La Crosse Teachers College and began her teaching career at West Portland, a one room rural school. She continued her education at UWL until she received her Bachelor’s degree plus many credits toward her Masters. The following years she taught at Cashton, Middle Ridge and Bangor Elementary Schools, for a total of 31 years. She loved to travel, whether it was the once in a lifetime trip to Norway, a motorcoach tour or on board the Amtrak, traveling to many places in the United States. Many summers were spent traveling in their motorhome or camping at local campgrounds. She documented her adventures with numerous pictures to share with others when she returned. She loved spending time with family, especially her grandchildren and great grands. Alice attended a writing class which sparked her interest in writing stories for her family. She began gathering information about her Norwegian ancestors, from their humble beginnings in Norway to immigrating to Wisconsin, she wrote many stories about everyday life. Alice wrote many stories about everyday life, including one about her great love of the tall windmill reaching to the sky. She climbed to the top step and she boldly claimed that she could view 4 churches. She continued writing until she had 2 books entitled “Alice’s Family Blessings” which contain a wealth of information about growing up on a farm, Norwegian ancestors and her family. Alice married her High School sweetheart, Leo Running, at Fish Creek Ridge Lutheran Church and to that union were born seven children, David, James, Richard, Leigh, Mark, Lisa, and Kevin. Baby James Michael preceded her in death in 1952. Her husband Leo preceded her in death in 1973. Alice married Eugene Olson on March 20, 1976. He preceded her in death in September, 1996 at the age of 62. Alice met James Gums and they fell in love and were married on February 15, 2003. He preceded her in death on May 30, 2018. She was also preceded in death by a brother, Lester Kirkeeng, sister, Sylvia Patterson and brother-in-law Tony Paulikas. She is survived by her children and spouses, David and Kaye Running, Richard and Bonnie Running, Leigh and Kathy Running, Mark and Sue Running, Lisa Lee, Kevin and Wendy Running, stepchildren and spouses, Steve and Mary Olson, Patrick and Sue Olson, Terry Olson, Renee Olson, Nancy and Dick Huennekens. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Shawn (Kristin), Karn (Bob), Justin (Amanda), Chris (Amanda), Ben, Erik (Kristin), Matt, Adam (Kristel), Katelyn (Joshua), Melissa (Brett), Rheanne, Erin, Heather (Jarrett) and Hilary (Jason). She was also blessed with many great-grandchildren. She is further survived by her brother, Alf (Denise) Kirkeeng, sister, Dorothy Paulikas, brother-in-law Robert Patterson, sister-in-law Charlotte Kirkeeng. And many nieces, nephews and friends. The love of her family and her faith brought her comfort and peace Alice surely will be missed. Blessed be her memory. Funeral Services will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 359 Leonard Street West Salem, Wisconsin, on Saturday, March 26 at 11:00 a.m. with visitation from 10:00 a.m. until time of service. Burial will be in Fish Creek Lutheran Cemetery. Memorials may be given to a charity of the donor's choice in Alice's memory.