School 09

Hallowese "Hailie" Ellena Gunn

May 27, 1923 ~ May 19, 2020 (age 96)


Hallowese “Hailie” Ellena Morrison Tomingas Gunn, 96, passed away May 19, 2020, at MorningStar Senior Living of Idaho Falls.

Hailie was born in Francisco, Indiana, May 27, 1923, to Ethyl Young Morrison and Louis Morrison. Hailie went to the first grade at the Whittier School in Kansas City. Her family then moved to Jackson, Wyoming, when she was seven.  There, she sang in a girl's trio as soprano and played on the women's basketball team. 

Hailie met and married a brilliant man, Bob Tomingas, and had three sons: Robbie, Henry, and Byron. They spent their first years on the Elk Ranch in Moran, Wyoming, then moved into Jackson. Robbie was a musical prodigy who could play Bugler's Holiday when he was ten.

Hailie was the County Librarian in Jackson for a decade. She was also President of the State Library Association and hosted the tri-state library convention, meeting many significant authors and publishers. She won the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award before going back to school to finish a degree in Library Science. When she finished her degree, she had an offer at the San Diego Library and the Elko County, Nevada, library. She moved to Elko and took the Directorship of the second largest county library system in the United States. She brought the library system into the computer age with an AS400 Main Frame which provided computer connections and services for the college and library as the town of Elko grew. She built several branch libraries and set up bookmobiles and other services. 

She met the love of her life, former Navy SEAL and Jazz Pianist, A. Thomas Gunn (, and he met his. Both were voracious readers and always joked they fell in love because he played music, and she held the keys to the library 24/7. They were married in 1971, and traveled to Scotland, Germany, England, and Mexico with interests well matched for rock collecting, travel, reading, and a very American passion, politics and the common good. Both were avid and expert golfers winning many tournaments and awards; Hailie continued to play golf all the way into her 90s, always known as a straight shooter. Between Tom's power and expertise coupled with Hailie's accuracy, they made a formidable golfing team.

Hailie and Tom loved going up to Alaska to see her son, Henry, and his fleet of ocean-going research ships which Tom, a former Navy man, enjoyed working on. Tom and Hailie retired to Kalispell, Montana, and didn't meet old age until 2018. For a last hurrah, they to drive the AlCan Highway one more time as nonagenarians. They arrived at their granddaughter’s Alaska Pony Ranch just in time for Hailie's 95th birthday. When Hailie's husband passed away, she moved to Idaho Falls to be near her youngest son, classical guitarist, Byron Tomingas ( from Jackson, Wyoming.

She is survived by her two sons; two granddaughters, Persis Anne Tomingas (Byron's daughter) and Alicia Loren Tomingas (Henry's daughter); daughters-in-law, Jane Groscost (Persis) and Ruth Hall (Alicia); and god-daughter, Beth Smith.

Thank you to Morningstar and Aspen Home Care for the excellent, flexible and warm services they provided during her time here in Idaho Falls.

Private graveside services will be held at the Aspen Hill Cemetery in Jackson, Wyoming.

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