John grew up to enjoy the great outdoors at Grass Lake, Illinois which is on the Wisconsin border. There his mother, Vi raised his older brother, Arlad and John with all the outdoor activities one could imagine. Hunting, fishing and camping the three would enjoy in Illinois and Wisconsin. After high school John attended Wisconsin State University–Whitewater through his junior year. He attended one summer term in Paris, France during his sophomore year and he also went to the Bahamas that same year. Then in 1967 he transferred to the University of South Dakota where he earned a BFA degree in 1968. In 1969 he went to the University of California–Davis and earned a MFA degree in 1971. His employment history is wide and varied. He worked at his father’s fishing resort during summers and after his BFA degree was employed as a commercial artist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the University of California-Davis he taught a summer ceramic’s class following his MFA degree and then moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he was employed by the Walker Art Center in their A–V department. Next moving to Colorado he worked as a commercial carpenter. Returning to education in 1979–80 he taught on the High School level at Greeley, Nebraska. In 1981 he returned to school to earn a MA degree in Education at the National College of Education in Evanston, Illinois. During the period of 1981 through early 1984 he also was an instructor at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The National College of Education during 1982 and 1983 employed him to instruct graduate courses in adult education. In 1984 John returned to Nebraska with his wife, Mary Ellen and went to work for the State of Nebraska’s Elk’s Association program of assisting disabled people into employment. That was a grant program that expired in two years. He and his wife then opened up a retail store and outfitting business in Central Nebraska and South Dakota. In 2004 John was the comedian in the Deadwood, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas production rounding out his employment years. The couple then returned to their Nebraska home where unfortunately in 2006 John had his right leg amputated above his knee. During his lifetime John was always connected to the outdoors. Growing up on a rural lake offered a wide knowledge of the great outdoors along with being a Boy Scout and Explorer Scout. In adult life he worked as a big game guide in Wyoming and an outfitter in Nebraska. All the years of guiding and outfitting offered an abundance of humor it must be said. During 2011 John wrote the humorous newsletter, “Musky News” that was distributed to fishermen headed to Maine. Presently he offers his fun and humor in the stories of, “Humor In The Great Outdoors.”
Mary Ellen Shunneson
Mary Ellen is John’s wife and has been the guiding light of John for the past 34 years. Her laugh and humor is contagious as one will experience in her true story included in this book. Her many years of working in their retail stores seemingly offered all her customers a laugh or two. The long hours of 4 AM until 10 PM during the hunting seasons working in the outfitting business had Mary Ellen giving the hunters countless laughs as well. Having no formal college degree she has a PhD in love, laughter and joy. She is a remarkable person with an inner beauty known to all that know her. Along with offering her story within, Mary Ellen has spent hundreds of hours editing this book making it a reality. She also has spent hundreds of hours fishing, a sport she loves.
Jim and John started this book in the early 1980s only to have Jim pass away in 1998. One of his true stories included in this book is a tribute to him. His dry humor is remarkable and he is greatly missed by all that knew Jim. He grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills with a love of the outdoors along with a great understanding of nature. He was a hunter, fisherman and a trapper. He attended Kearny State College studying literature, which he continued to do throughout his lifetime. His massive personal book collection contained the classics to modern fiction with all in-between. Jim served in the US Army during the Korean War era. Following his service he worked primarily in sales, which he excelled at. All that dealt with Jim knew he was honest and extremely likable. We hope you enjoy his story and humor.