Elmer Morris Gunkel AKA, Smokey Silver resident of Manteca, CA., passed away Sept. 29,2014 peacefully in his sleep at the age of 83. Smokey predeceased his parents Jesse M. and Zella Mae Mears Gunkel, and his four siblings, Joseph, William, and Jack Gunkel, and his sister Clara Hill.
Survived by his wife of 64 years Phyllis Petty Gunkel, four children, Ronald, Theresa Batterton, James, and Zella Olvera, 10 Grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren, sister-in-law Patsy Gunkel numerous Nieces, Nephews and Cousins.
Smokey was born in Mounds, Oklahoma and moved to Stockton, California in 1942. He married his one and only true love Phyllis on August 5th 1950. Smokey worked in sales, radio D.J., and as an entertainer. He was a staunch supporter and promoter of Country and Western Swing Music. Smokey collected and preserved a large library of country music dating back to the 1920s. Smokey had a strong love for country music, he hoped it would be preserved, loved and carried on by future generations, long after his journey on earth. He was inducted in to the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame Oct. 2001 in Sacramento, CA., The Pioneer Western Swing Society Seattle, WA., in 2006, and The Southwestern Hall of Fame in Oklahoma, July 2008.
Graveside service were held October 17th, 2014 at Acacia Memorial Park – 801 Scenic Drive, Modesto, CA. officiated by Rev. Robert Chambers.