Thomas Gunnels was born in Smackover, Arkansas. He was a member of the Boy Scouts, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and was a member of the Order of the Arrow. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force and a Senior Pilot. Tom was an active member of the Bud Day Flight of Daedalians and served in Vietnam where he flew the O-2 Skymaster. He was a member of the Eglin Golf Course and won several tournaments there.
Thomas Gunnels was preceded in death by his son, Richard Thomas Gunnels, his sisters Maxine Parman, Vesta Mullins and his brother, Donald Gunnels. He survived by his wife Jill Millis, son William Ray Gunnels, and daughters Susan Nelson and Margaret Jacob, and granddaughters Joanna Nelson, Janet Gunnels, Amanda Gunnels, Jillian Jacob and Beverly Jacob, and his sister, Bonnie Rogers.