Gordon A. Schellhas
age 96, a Naval aviator in WWII, who flew PBYs out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Willemstad, Curacao, died September 10, 2020, of natural causes. Gordy was born on October 14, 1923, in Winona, Minnesota. He was predeceased by his parents, Kurt and Mabel Schellhas; brother William Louis, KIA WWII June 20, 1944; brother Kurt Frederick, KIA WWII December 29, 1944; and beloved wife Jean of 57 years, who died in 2005 and to whom Gordy affectionally referred as his “sparring partner.” He is survived by his children Kurt (Jane) Schellhas, Heidi (Bob Lucas) Schellhas, and Gretchen (TJ Brink) Schellhas; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Before WWII, Gordy attended Winona State Teachers College and worked for his father, brewmaster at Fountain City Brewery. After the war, he worked briefly for his father, then brewmaster at G. Heilemann Brewing; married Jean Morcomb of Winona; and obtained a B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Following graduation, he worked for Paul Lewis Laboratories in Milwaukee and Rahr Malting Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In 1962, when Rahr moved its offices to the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Gordy moved his family to Edina. He retired from Rahr in 1986 after 30 years.
Gordy and Jean spent their retirement in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, and Pensacola, Florida. Gordy was a proud member of the American Legion Billie Brown Post #627 in Nisswa, a 32-degree Freemason and longtime member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Milwaukee, a member of the Brainerd Masonic Lodge, and a Shriner, volunteering as a driver so that children in the Brainerd area could be treated in Minneapolis at the Shriners Hospital for Children. He played the glockenspiel in the Shriners Oriental Band, participating in parades throughout central Minnesota. Gordy will be greatly missed. He had a heart of gold, loved helping people, was kind to strangers, and was a wonderful husband and father.
Although Gordy rarely spoke about WWII or his brothers’ deaths, shortly before his own death, he wondered aloud about whether he would see his brothers again. So it seems fitting to include a diary entry of his brother, Kurt, an Army Air Corps aviator, after Kurt and Gordy met in Oklahoma City on October 31, 1943. “When I said goodbye to Gordon, I almost cried. We shook hands and I climbed on the bus. . . As I sit here writing, I still have a lump in my throat because it will probably be quite a while before I see him again. He is a knock-out in his Navy uniform. It fit perfectly, and he was made to wear the uniform and vice versa. He will be a perfect officer.” Now, they meet again, and their brother, William, too.
The family extends a special thanks to the staff at Vernon Terrace of Edina, and to Gordy’s Lifesprk nurses and care providers. Interment with military honors will occur at Fort Snelling Cemetery at a date not yet determined.