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Anna May Fitzsimmons Gunst


Anna May Fitzsimmons Gunst

02/08/1925 - 02/21/2021

Anna May (Rusty) Fitzsimmons Gunst passed away peacefully on Sunday February 21, 2021 at the Halifax Hospice in Orange City, Florida Known to her friends and family as Rusty, she was born on February 8, 1925 to Raymond and Frances (Ellenberger) Fitsimmons in Pittsburgh, PA.

She was an only child, but she had 33 first cousins due to the many siblings of each of her parents. She was a member of Elfinwild United Presbyterian Church.She attended DeHaven Elementary School and Shaler High School, graduating in 1943. An excellent pianist and organist, she earned a Bachelor of Music Education with a minor in English from Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA in 1946 where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority and served on the May Day Court. For her senior recital in the Wallace Chapel there, she played Piece Heroique by Cesar Franck. Her first teaching position was in Ligonier, PA where she traveled among 12 one-room schools to teach grades 1-8. Next, she taught band at West View Junior High in Piitsburgh. In later years, she played organ for the weddings of many relatives and friends.

She married her high school sweetheart, Jim Gunst, on September 27, 1947. Their first child was born in 1948 and they briefly lived in Maryland before moving back to Pittsburgh. Their son was born in 1951. Rusty was a full-time mother at that time, but later would return to teaching music in the North Hills, Shaler Township, and Hampton Township Schools. An excellent typist, she also provided clerical assistance for her husband’s growing business. She was a dedicated baseball fan for her son, grandsons, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and later Stetson University. She also had a life-long love affair with coffee...at any hour of the day! She retained exceptionally youthful looks throughout her life and was well-known for her fiery red hair. Her most fervent love was indeed her entire family.

Rusty leaves behind her husband of 73 years, James S. Gunst, Sr., and two children, Nancy Gunst Vernau and husband George of Houston, TX and James.S. Gunst, Jr. and wife June of Allison Park, PA. There are five grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren as follows: Matthew Gunst, Wyatt Gunst and wife Sue and their children Harper, Gavin and Lydia Gunst, and Trevor Gunst of Allison Park, PA, George Vernau, Jr and Wife Kathryn of Houston, TX and their children George Vernau III and Luke Vernau, and Suzanne Vernau Feezel and her husband Zach of Round Rock, TX and their children Isaac, Lily and Levi Feezel.

Burial will be in Deland, Florida, her home of more than 30 years.There will be no visitation.


Memorial contributions may be made in Rusty’s name to Westminster College at www.westminster.edu or to the charity of your choice.

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