Violet Virginia Van Gundy of Tifton died Saturday, July 17, 2010, at her residence. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at Tifton’s First United Methodist Church. Rev. Sam Rogers, Rev. Stephen Webb and Rev. Bruce Sack will officiate with entombment to follow in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals.
Miss Van Gundy was born in Des Moines, Iowa and was the daughter of George Van Gundy and Virginia Troutman Van Gundy, both deceased. She was also preceded in death by one brother, Jack Warren Van Gundy.
When Violet was very young, her parents moved to Hollywood, California, where her family met Hal Roach, the producer of “Our Gang”, which later became “The Little Rascals”. She starred as “Baby Violet” on the show for over four years. During her time in Hollywood, she assisted Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin and others.
As a teenager, she and her brother, Jack, converted to Christianity and formed Van Gundy’s Evangelist Team and subsequently joined Billy Graham’s Youth for Christ Ministry. Through this ministry, P.D. Fulwood, Sr. asked them to come to Tifton. Services at the Methodist Church were so highly attended, they were asked to come back for a week-long tent revival. It eventually went on for three weeks. Her Christianity and her work for the Lord is how Violet wanted to be remembered.
The Van Gundy’s fell in love with Tifton and the people here and decided to stay. For approximately 55 years, Violet and Jack were owners and operators of Van Gundy’s Motor Court, now Town Terrace Motel (“The Pink Motel”). Before I-75 was constructed, many famous people stayed there over the years. Among those were Al Capone, Jack Dempsey and The Lone Ranger (John Reid) and his horse, Silver. Miss Van Gundy was a member of Tifton’s First United Methodist Church.
Miss Van Gundy is survived by one sister, Mildred King of Tempe, Arizona; her nieces, Sandy Walker and Linda Green and her husband, Jim; her great nephews, David Green and his wife, Kim, Mark Green, and John Green and his wife, Lora; and her great nieces, Bonnie Turner and Sandy Huff and her husband, Jeff.