Doctor George Roland Gundrum, 95, passed away on Tuesday, November 10 th at 2:50 PM, while surrounded by family. He is with his beloved wife Nelly who passed November 5, 2020. George was born in Wieselburg, Austria on March 8, 1925, the son of Franz and Anna Gundrum, who later divorced. Anna then married Dr. Hans Butt from Transylvania, Romania. Along with George, and his brother Franz Jr., four more boys were born, Hans Jr., Kurt, Horst, and Rolf. In 1932, the family moved to his stepfather’s homeland, Tartlau (Prejmer) Romania where George attended first grade. Soon after the Butt family acquired a villa outside of Kronstadt (Brasov, Romania) called Die Hohe Warte (The High Ridge). Many fond memories occurred with his 5 brothers on this huge estate, where the family lived until 1944.
As nationalistic fervor grew under the Hitler regime, many German-speaking youths were conscripted to serve in the war. George was sent to a political military camp during his high school years in Traiskirchen, Austria, south of Vienna where he excelled as an athlete. Upon completion of high school, his entire graduating class was forced to enlist in the Armed Forces. George and his artillery unit were sent to Prague, Belgium, and later deployed to Normandy, where he was captured by Allied Forces on August 30, 1944. As a POW, he was sent to Great Britain, on to Liverpool, and then shipped off to New York City. There he saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time. Following that, he was sent to a POW camp in Huntsville, TX and later to Camp Dermott in Arkansas. The family story has it that George was MIA for almost 2 years from 1944-46, but was eventually released and made his way home to Austria, where there was an emotional family reunion.
Two years later, the family moved to Linz, Austria, where Dr. Hans Butt was a Radiologist in the government health system. In 1948, George and his two brothers, Hans Jr. and Kurt, began medical school in Innsbruck, Austria. In 1950, while a student, George met Nelly Kaneider who lived in a small town outside of Innsbruck. Since George and his brothers were not from Tirol, a province of Austria, they were considered “displaced” people. Nelly’s friends encouraged her not to associate with George, but his charm and awesome personality prevailed. They married in 1952 in the Basilica Church in Innsbruck, Austria.
In 1956, George and Nelly decided to immigrate to America. They entered through Ellis Island, onward to Louisville KY, Dixon IL, Nauvoo, IL, and then settled in Burlington Iowa in 1965. George continued his medical practice in Burlington, Iowa with longtime partner, Dr. Paul Breckner. They had a successful partnership and practice until retirement in 1990 and they continued to work part-time for Health west clinic due to the shortage of family physicians. George loved being a physician and so many in our community remember him and the wonderful care he provided.
In the 1990’s, George discovered his father, Franz Gundrum’s, gravesite in Zagreb, Yugoslavia and that he had a half-brother Vladamir and half-sister Petra. Many reunions were planned, and fond memories were made of this new family connection. Sadly, Vladimir, who lived in Denmark, died suddenly in 2018. Petra still lives in Zagreb, Croatia. George’s favorite activities included skiing in Colorado, hiking in the Alps, and swimming in the family pool. He also received his pilot’s license and owned a couple of airplanes with Dr. Sixto Guiang. He loved Corvettes and owned 3 in his lifetime. During his practice you would also see George on his motorcycle visiting his patients in the hospital, at nursing homes, or working his 24-hour shifts in the Emergency Room.
He was a classical music enthusiast, who also loved Opera, and traveled many years to Chicago to attend the Lyric Opera. Though he could not read music, he was able to play the piano by ear. His love for travel took him back to his homeland Austria to visit family and friends, as well as several road trips across America with European relatives. There were also many ski trips to Colorado resorts. George was a tremendous skier and was affectionately known as the “Schussboomer”. During his last 5-8 years George enjoyed sitting in the family kitchen, overlooking the mighty Mississippi, and bird watching. George was blessed to have all three daughters around to help take care of him and Nelly in their final years in the family home.
George is survived by one son, Werner (Rosi) Gundrum of Innsbruck, Austria, and three daughters, Barbara Carroll, Annelisa Grant and Monika (Rick) Coursey, all of Burlington. Grandchildren include Stephan (Lou) Gundrum, Bettina (Daniel) Sorg of Innsbruck, Austria, Michael (Claudia) Gundrum of Guadalajara MX, Paulina (Ben) Colton of Overland Park, KS and George (Anna) Coursey of Indianapolis, IN. Great grandchildren include, Meo and Linnea Gundrum, Toby and Lara Sorg, and Rosa and Maria Gundrum-Comacho. Also surviving are half-sister Petra, nephew Kurt Butt Jr., nieces Hannelore (Jim )Moffitt, of Nauvoo, IL, Jackie (Danny) Chiesa, Tracy (Scott) Grimmer, and Cathy Butt, all in the Toronto, Canada area, Adrienne Butt, her daughter Naomi, and Katerina Butt, all of Linz, Austria. One of his closest friends, Otto Trousil resides in West Burlington. IA.
Cremation has been entrusted to the care of Prugh Crematory.
The Memorial Mass of the Resurrection for Dr. George and Nelly Gundrum will be 10:30 AM Saturday, December 12, 2020, at Divine Mercy Parish-St. John the Baptist Catholic Church with Very Rev. Father Marty Goetz as the Celebrant. The church will be open after 9:30 AM to pay respect and listen to their favorite music. Private family burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery following the Mass.
In lieu of flowers, a Memorial will be established for Great River Hospice and Great River
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