Gay Bumgarner

Gay McDonnell Bumgarner, landscape designer, naturalist, internationally acclaimed photographer and conservation advocate died August 28 in Columbia Missouri in the company of friends and family.


Gay is survived by her sister Lois Dillon of Independence, Missouri and Tom Feldhahn of Westport, Connecticut, her children Stephen, Patrick, and Sharon McDonnell, and step-children Jim Bumgarner Jr., Sally Townsand, and Cathy Shryock.  She has 16 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and numerous very good friends who shared her love for political activism, wry humor, artistic pursuits, and lifelong learning. 


Rather than a memorial service, honoring Gay’s wishes, there will be an open house celebrating the lives of Gay McDonnell Bumgarner and James Bumgarner. The couple lived amidst natural beauty, which nourished the artistry reflected in Jim’s fine woodworking, Gay’s photography and her beautiful gardens.  As a way of expressing appreciation to the community for a lifetime of kindness and support to them, please come to see their work, and share in an evening of story telling on Sunday, September 14, 2008 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm at 1315 Rustic Road, Columbia, Missouri. Potluck dinner will be at 6:00 pm and bring a favorite dish. For Further information contact Libby Gill,
Ila Irwin,, Jo Manhart

For those who cannot attend in person we invite you to share your stories of Gay with her family.  Visit the website of her stock agents where there is a diverse collection of her work available by typing her name in their search features: or


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts go to the McDonnell-Bumgarner Scholarship Fund, established in 1998 for students at Columbia College.  Gifts may be directed to Columbia College, Office of Development and Alumni Services, 1001 Rogers Street, Columbia, Mo., 65216.


  1. Tom (Carey) Southall on September 4, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Hello Sharon: I knew you through the sixth grade at Lab School. I went by my middle name Carey in those days. Sorry for your loss. I let my old pal from that era Tim Flynn in North Carolina know of the news. (After going to UCLA and living in Paris and New York, I have returned to MU for a change of life to pursue grad studies in History.) Best wishes to you and your family in this moment of loss — and apparent celebration, too. Good for you! Tom

  2. Bob Luebbers on September 8, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    On behalf of the Lab SchoolU-High web site, I extend condolences. We invite Stephen, Patrick and Sharon to register with us and reconnect with friends from Lab School. We are located at

    With deep sympathy

    Bob Luebbers ~ Web Shepherd

  3. Dr. and Mrs Fletcher Burge on September 10, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Sorry for the loss of your Mother and our good Friend. We have such good memories of the three of you when we were neighbors on Westwood. We regret that we are unable to attend.
    Gloria & Fletcher

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