GARDNER Arnold O. Gus Sundnas, 88, of 71 Barthel Ave., Gardner, died Thursday, May 15, 2008 in the Baldwinville Nursing Home. Gus was universally liked in the Gardner area, and had a greeting or a kind word for everyone he encountered.
He was born in Gardner, on December 5, 1919, the son of the late John and the late Esther (Johnson) Sundnas.
He grew up in Gardner and attended local schools. Mr. Sundnas worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps, then the American Fiber Company. In August 1942, he enlisted in the US Army, and served in the 654th Engineer Battalion. Widely known as Ole, he served for three years and three days, and saw action in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. He once shared a foxhole with General George Patton, who told him Son, youd better keep your head down, or youll lose it. He received the following decorations and citations, the Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Medal, the Occupation Ribbon (Germany), the EAME Campaign Ribbon with five battle stars, and the American Theater Campaign Ribbon.
Mr. Sundnas returned to Gardner after his discharge in November 1945, and continued work at American Fiber. He met Jennie Lesneski at a dance in 1949, and they married on June 30, 1951. Gus then worked several places in the Gardner area, such as Heywood Wakefield, East Gardner State Hospital, and the former Florence Stove Company. In 1964 he began his employment at the Simplex Time Recorder Company, where he worked until his retirement in 1981. He was a member of the Gardner American Legion Post No. 120, and the Gardner Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 905. He was also a charter member of the Worcester County Quabbin Anglers Association.
Gus loved singing in choral groups, and was a lifelong supporter and participant in barbershop singing. He was a member of the Runeberg Mens Chorus in 1938 and performed at the 1939 New York Worlds Fair. After the war, Gus sang bass in the Accidental Chords for several years, along with Todd Lind, Ernest Holmlund, Angelo Solinas, and later, Paul Holmstrom. In 1973 they formed another all-male chorus, the Chairtownaires, and from that chorus formed a quartet, the Squaretops. They presented numerous programs and minstrel shows in the region. In 1985, Gus joined the Worcester Men of Song, and remained a member until his death. He was celebrated as a well-known local vocalist in a James Murphy cartoon...