Cover photo for James F. Gudenkauf's Obituary
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James F. Gudenkauf

January 9, 1966 — January 18, 2023

James F. Gudenkauf, 57, of Marysville, KS, died January 18, 2023, at his home. Visitation was Sunday, January 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kinsley Mortuary. A vigil service was held at 7:00 p.m., Sunday, at St. Gregory's Catholic Church in Marysville. A funeral service was held at 10:00 a.m., Monday, January 23, at St. Gregory's Catholic Church. Rev. Quentin Schmitz officiated. The musicians were Rosemary Forst and Paula Landoll-Smith. Music included “Be Not Afraid”, “How Great Thou Art”, “Dust in the Wind”, “Here I Am Lord”, “The Lord is My Shepherd”, “Amazing Grace”, “Only a Shadow”, “Song of Farewell” and “Lead Me Lord”. The pallbearers were Tyler Gudenkauf, Caleb Gudenkauf, Tanner Gudenkauf, Jadyn Graybill, Jordan Gudenkauf and Rachel Gudenkauf. Burial was in Prospect Hill Cemetery, near Blue Rapids. James was born January 9, 1966 in Axtell, KS. He grew up on a farm northeast of Seneca, KS. He attended Saints Peter and Paul through eighth grade and graduated from Nemaha Valley High School in 1984. He then attended Platt College in St. Joseph, Missouri and graduated from the travel and tourism program in 1985. James then moved to southern California in December 1985 where he began his career at Anaheim Plaza Travel, which allowed him to start his travel adventures with a weekend in Hawaii. April 1986, he joined Olson Travel World as a first class/deluxe tour operator. His first assignment was in the Europe department, and this allowed him to travel 17 days to England, Paris, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Belgium in September of 1987. After that trip they needed help in the Olympic Department. In 1988, the Winter Olympics were in Calgary, Canada, and he spent 9 days there. He said the Calgary winter reminded him of winters in Kansas. Later that year he warmed up with a trip to Jamaica. In 1990, his favorite assignment was with Olson-Travelworld in the Foreign Independent Travel Department (FIT). This allowed James to design more independent travel packages, not a pre-packaged tour with a group. He enjoyed this the most because he was able to design a trip to out of the way places most pre-packaged trips would not travel. He was able to send a group of four from Murfreesboro, Tennessee to the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, all over Australia, including the remote western parts. They also visited many of the Indonesian and New Guinea Islands and jungles, Singapore, Thailand, Borneo, China, and finished with Japan. The most difficult part of the trip was visiting and planning the once a week in-and-out early morning flights at the Islands of New Guinea and Indonesia. Of course, the family missed their flight during that time. James had to scramble from 1000's of miles away to arrange another flight to keep them on schedule. Somehow James was able to get things back on track for them. Overall that trip amounted to at least 140 days long, all made by a man they had only met through the phone. He said working for Olson was the best job he ever had. James then went to work for African Travel which allowed him 12 days in Kenya, where he met his future wife, Naomi. He was able to travel all around most East African countries. Later to China and Mongolia. James and Naomi also stayed one week in Fiji. In 1997, the two moved to Marysville. James worked with his brothers at Gudenkauf Tree Service up until 2002. He then split to make his own business, Gudenkauf Transplanting, now renamed Outdoor Visions. For 20 years he transplanted trees and built retaining walls even through a 5-year battle with colorectal cancer. James and Naomi were married for 11 years and were blessed with two sons, Lucas and Nathan. Survivors include his ex-wife, Naomi Gudenkauf, Ogden, KS; two sons, Lucas Gudenkauf, Marysville, who earned a Horticulture Science degree from Johnson County Community College and moved back to help out his dad and will continue running the business and growing his dreams in landscaping, and Nathan Gudenkauf, who is attending Hutchinson Community College, studying Video Production and post editing. Other survivors include his parents, Paul and Janice Gudenkauf, Seneca; brothers, Ron (Holly) Gudenkauf, Dawson, NE, Steve (Lorie) Gudenkauf, Seneca, Tom (Susan) Gudenkauf, Sabetha, Tony (Kim) Gudenkauf, Sabetha; sisters, Trish (Chris) Rhodes, White City, KS, and Vicky (James) Marstall, Manhattan, KS; five nephews, Tyler Gudenkauf, Caleb Gudenkauf, Tanner Gudenkauf, Isaac and Teddy Gudenkauf; and seven nieces, Katlynn Padgett, Jordan and Rachel Gudenkauf, Jadyn Graybill, Eadon Marstall, Aubreigh Rhodes and Camryn Gudenkauf. James is rejoicing in heaven with his sister, Kathy Gudenkauf, who preceded him in death in 2009. In lieu of flowers and food, James requested memorial contributions be left in Lucas and Nathan’s names. Video link to James Gudenkauf rosary service Video link to James Gudenkauf funeral service To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James F. Gudenkauf, please visit our flower store.


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