Cover photo for Jack "Trapper" E. Runnells's Obituary
Jack "Trapper" E. Runnells Profile Photo
1931 Jack "Trapper" 2022

Jack "Trapper" E. Runnells

November 19, 1931 — December 29, 2022


Funeral services for Jack “Trapper” Eugene Runnells, 91, of Chariton will be held on Thursday, January 5, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at the Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton. Interment will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made in Jack’s name to Pin Oak Marsh.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton.

Jack “Trapper” Eugene Runnells was born on November 19, 1931, to Gwynne “GW” and Bessie (Brown) Runnells. He was born in a little house on 8th St by the railroad tracks in Chariton, IA. In 1950, he graduated from Chariton High School as an accomplished athlete playing football and basketball, where his coach Ralph Reynolds said he was the best blocking back he had ever seen.  This is also where his work as a place kicker earned him the nickname “the Educated Toe” from coach Reynolds.  He continued to support school activities all through his life, giving much of himself to the Chariton Chargers.

Jack married Marilyn Anderson on August 2, 1958, in Princeton, Missouri. The family included daughters Terry, Rhonda, Sandra, and Becky, and son Richard.

In 1960, Jack became a landed immigrant in Ontario, Canada where he was a licensed hunting and fishing guide.  He would spend his last dime to do the fishing and hunting he loved so much, earning him the CB handle “Trapper”, which many still call him today.

Jack was the first person to shoot a deer in modern times with a bow and arrow in Avoca, IA.  He also organized the Chariton Archery Club in the early 1950’s, which became the first club of its kind to own a 48-target range.  In support of tradition, the Archery Club also used exclusively Bear Arrows, arrows produced by Fred Bear, a Native American who was the first person ever to kill a moose and an elk with a bow in the US.  Jack was the serving president for the club while its numbers dwindled, and his last act of preservation advocacy with this club was to convince its stockholders to donate its remaining 40 acres to the DNR.

In the mid-1950’s, Jack worked for Johnson Machine Works where he and his friend Fred Baze would never lose an opportunity to clock out when it started to rain to head to the lake for some bass fishing.

Jack worked for the Rock Island Railroad, just as his father, grandfather, and brother had before him.  He was a foreman, machine operator, and track maintainer.  He retired from Rock Island Railroad in 1976.

In the spring of 1990 Jack traveled to Texas where he became a Golfsmith.  On June 1, 1990, he and wife Marilyn, opened Jamar Golf in Chariton, IA which they managed until August 2005.

Jack was also a long-time member of the Eagles, an avid Hawkeye fan, and a farmer.  For the past 4 decades he annually retrieved fresh produce from Muscatine, IA to sell in Chariton, earning him yet another nickname, the Melon Man.

Jack was a very kind, family-oriented man.  He loved his family fiercely and was always very proud and supportive of everything they did.

Jack passed away Thursday, December 29, 2022 surrounded by family. He will be missed by his wife of 64 years, Marilyn; children: Rhonda Strife, Sandra Stern, Becky Runnells, and Richard (Jo) Runnells; 19 grandchildren: Kimberly Sanders, Randee Lynn Wilke, Shanna (Casey) Amos, Brian Strife, Joshua Strife, Randy Joe (Abbey) Metzger, Ryan (Stacey) Metzger, Jason (Jessica) Rebol, Eric (Rachel) Runnells, Matt (Megan) Rebol-Runnells, Jennifer (Mark) Hornback, Amanda (Justin) Buckingham, and Richie (Dakota) Runnells; 29 great grandchildren: Cody (Nicole), Kylie (Zeb), Kelsie, Aurora, Dillon, Dalton (Cheyenne), Trinity (Chance), Jacqueline, Jaden, Aubrey, Madi, Brennan, Amiya, Luca Jack, Jonah, Evelyn, Nora, Jack Eugene, Harlie, Hunter, Jasmine, Ethan, Alexander, Lydia, Henry, Colin, and Cadin; 6 great-great grandchildren: Damon, Slevin, Madilyn, Raelynn, Everleigh, and Ensleigh; sister-in-law, Marie Runnells; and brothers-in-law, Don (Joyce) Anderson and Larry McKnight.  He is also survived by adopted family in Tom Litchfield and Sara Allison (VanHulzen).

He was preceded in death by his parents, GW and Bess Runnells; brother, Richard “Buzz” Runnells; daughter, Terry Runnells Wilke; sons-in-law: David Stern, George Rebol, and Randy Metzger; granddaughter, Stacy Routh; grandson-in-law, Mark Sanders; and infant great grandson, Charlie Hornback.

The service will be livestreamed through the following link: 

To send flowers to the family in memory of Jack "Trapper" E. Runnells, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Pierschbacher Funeral Homes - Chariton

914 Roland Ave., Chariton, IA 50049

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Funeral Service

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Pierschbacher Funeral Homes - Chariton

914 Roland Ave., Chariton, IA 50049

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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