David Russell Gunsauls
David Russell Gunsauls
  • November 12, 1954 - January 6, 2018
  • Red Bluff, California

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David Russell Gunsauls
November 12, 1954 - January 6, 2018

David Russell Gunsauls was born November 12, 1954 to Philip Russell & Doris Jean Gunsauls in Downey, California. His family moved to Merced when he was very young. Growing up in an agricultural family that included dairy farming and raising cattle, David spent many years in 4-H raising and showing Black Angus bulls. In 1968, the family came to Red Bluff, where he lived the remainder of his life. David graduated from Red Bluff High School in 1972. While in high school, he obtained his private pilots license, and later his commercial pilots license. David studied aircraft maintenance at Shasta College and began working for his father at Phil's Ag Air as both a mechanic and a pilot, flying a crop duster for many local farmers. Eventually, the family-owned business evolved from agricultural work to construction and load-work. In 1983, David's father formed PJ Helicopters, with his 4 sons as partners. Among the many special skills and training he accomplished was the ability to fly both fixed wing and rotorcraft. During his career as a commercial pilot, David logged more than 18,000 hours of flight time. His many accomplished missions included fire, utility, search & rescue, agricultural spraying, frost protection and law enforcement support, including night-vision flight. David worked in these 2 businesses a total of 46 years and was the current President and Director of Maintenance of PJ Helicopters. He leaves large shoes to fill, as his knowledge and experience are unmatched.

On March 30, 1986, David married the love of his life, Tina Yvonne Christison. Four short years later, David was diagnosed with a genetic kidney disorder called Alports. David received a kidney transplant at 2 different times. He carried his brother Mike's kidney successfully for the last 18 years. David and Tina enjoyed many adventures together. They belonged to the Serendipity Corvette Club and traveled the US on many occasions. David had a love of cars, both old and new. He was also an exceptional marksman, traveling to specialty gun competitions around California and surrounding states, earning top prizes and recognition. He loved the right-to-bear-arms, and shared his knowledge and expertise with his family. David was also a volunteer fireman for the Dairyville area.

David leaves behind his adored wife of 33 years, Tina; his mother Doris; his brothers Mike (Lorna), Paul (Kerry) and Mark (Dede); his children Kati Gunsauls-Rynearson, Jesse Gunsauls (Lindsey), Dawn Stec (Ted) and Jill Pierre; grandchildren Michael, Alyssa, Landon, Audrey, Christy, Zack and Brianna (Derek) and many, many friends and colleagues.

Peaceful rest David. Pray for us who are left with a giant hole in our hearts. You were kind, gentle and loving. You were a talented pilot, mechanic and businessman. You were an honorable and loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, son and friend. You had a twinkle in your eye, a mischievous smile and a heart of gold. You loved adventure. You protected proudly. You lived through more physical suffering than anyone ever should, and you never complained. You didn't waste words, but rather, spoke with intent and wisdom. You loved your Tina with all your heart, in a way no one can ever deny. Sweet, dear brother, you will be greatly missed by many. We love you forever

A graveside service will be held at the Tehama Cemetery, 7772 Woodland Avenue, Gerber on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. with a reception immediately following at the PJ Air hangar at 1255 Anderson Street, Red Bluff. Hoping to see everyone there.