Cover photo for William Dow Gumerson, Jr.'s Obituary
William Dow Gumerson, Jr. Profile Photo

William Dow Gumerson, Jr.

October 2, 1944 — November 26, 2020

William Dow Gumerson, Jr.

William Dow Gumerson, Jr., was born on October 2, 1944, in Minneapolis and died in Oklahoma City on Thanksgiving, November 26, 2020. Bill was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and contributor to dozens of landmarks throughout Central Oklahoma. Bill spent his early years in Enid, Oklahoma, and graduated in 1963 from Harding High School in Oklahoma City, where he was named Senior Class Favorite, for his leadership and efficiency. Bill attended Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. He married his high school sweetheart, Dianne Gumm, in 1966, and together they had three children. They remained happily married for thirty years until her death. In 1997, he remarried Mary Ellen Sullivan Flanagan, which resulted in another happy union of twenty-four years. Gumerson was the founder of Bill Gumerson & Associates, a design-build firm, which focuses on new and historic properties in Central Oklahoma. He began his career when he joined his father, architect Dow Gumerson, in his design and construction firm. Their first project together, the Ford Distributing Company, was built by Gumerson from his father's design. The two also collaborated on Nichols Hills Plaza. While an expert in new construction, Gumerson particularly loved historic properties and restored some of the finest architecture in Oklahoma.Bill had an exuberance for life and shared it with everyone he knew. He was an avid boater, fisherman, snow skier, car enthusiast, traveler, and adventurer. Among his favorite pastimes were watching sunsets at Grand Lake and in Santa Fe. He also treasured regular family vacations to Aspen and Crested Butte, Colorado, where he taught his children and grandchildren how to ski and fish. He adored spending time in Minnesota and visiting the Gilderhus Family Farm where he spent time as a child. Together, he and Mary Ellen enjoyed their travels around the world, their friendships, civic life, and the activities of the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club. Bill was also proud of his Norwegian ancestry and Viking roots; not an occasion passed without a Linie Aquavit toast among family and friends. Above all, Bill was loyal, and he demonstrated this loyalty to family, friends, clients, and to the heritage of Oklahoma City. One close friend, who is also a client, referred to Bill as "the consummate gentleman." Gumerson served on dozens of boards and task forces, including as president of Preservation Oklahoma, for which he led the capital campaign to renovate the exterior of the Overholser Mansion; the Heritage Hall Board of Trustees; the Oklahoma City Historic Preservation Commission; the Children's Hospital Foundation Board of Directors; the National Trust for Historic Preservation Board of Advisors; Historic Preservation, Inc., which supported the neighborhood of Heritage Hills, where he was a longtime resident; and the Chafing Dish Society. Gumerson was a founding member of Friends of the Mansion, which preserves the Oklahoma Governor's Mansion. He served on public-art task forces for transportation thruways, on behalf of Oklahoma City Beautiful; and he co-chaired the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund's Red Tie Night. Gumerson was preceded in death by his parents William Dow Gumerson and Jean Gilderhus Gumerson; his wife and mother of his children, Dianne Gumm Gumerson; and brother Jon David Gumerson. He is survived by his wife Mary Ellen, of the home; daughters Kristen Gumerson Bohanon and son-in-law David Bohanon of Oklahoma City; Katie Gumerson Altshuler and son-in-law Brooks Altshuler of Oklahoma City; and son William Dow Gumerson III and daughter-in-law Katie Schoenfelder Gumerson of Jamestown, North Carolina; and Mary Ellen's children, Lauren Flanagan Gaffney of St. Paul, Minnesota, and William and Katherine Flanagan of Oklahoma City; his brother, Ted Lee Gumerson, and wife Cheryl, of Oklahoma City; grandchildren Luther Andrew and Dianne Elaine Bohanon; William Geoffrey and Evelyn Dianne Altshuler; Maxwell Dow and Georgia Dianne Gumerson; and Frances Maryrose Gaffney and Vivienne Skye Flanagan; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews and their children. The family wishes to thank all of the frontline medical workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and a very special thank you to extended family Jon Blaschke, MD, and Shea Weir, RN. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the William Dow Gumerson, Jr. Memorial Fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Preservation Oklahoma, Oklahoma Children's Hospital Foundation, or the charity of one's choice. A celebration of the extraordinary life of Bill Gumerson is planned for 2021.
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Thursday, November 26, 2020

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