Emmett Eugene “Gene” Tunnell of Baxter Springs, Kan., died Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, at Saint John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., after an illness. He was 80.

Tunnell was born Nov. 30, 1926, in Miami to Frank H. and Edith Gertrude (Taylor) Tunnell. He grew up in Miami and graduated from Miami High School. He moved to Baxter Springs in 1950 from Miami.

He was a World War II veteran of the Army.

He worked for 50 years as a patternmaker for King Louie Manufacturing Company of Baxter Springs, retiring on Feb. 17, 1998. He was a member of the First Christian Church of Baxter Springs.

He was married to the former Lillie Mae Edwards. She preceded him in death on Dec. 27, 1996. He was also preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Lila Mavis Stafford.

Survivors include four sons, Estell Tunnell of Joplin, John Tunnell of Lees Summitt, Mo., Dennis Tunnell of Baxter Springs and Jim Tunnell of Riverton, Kan.; one daughter, Kathy Sappington of Peoria; two brothers, Leonard Tunnell and Byron Tunnell, both of Miami; two aunts, Viola Taylor and Florence Leithey, both of Miami; one uncle, Willie Taylor of Welch, 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Services will be 10 a.m. Friday at the First Christian Church of Baxter Springs with Dr. Steve Minor officiating. Burial will be in the Baxter Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Robert Tunnell, Larry Tunnell, Russ Tunnell, Jared Tunnell, David Tunnell and John Nathan Tunnell.

The family will receive friends from 7 to 8 p.m. today at Derfelt's Baxter Chapel of Baxter Springs.