Edward L. Gidley

Edward L. Gidley, 89, Bella Vista, Arkansas, passed away October 21, 2019, at Circle of Life Hospice in nearby Bentonville. He was born January 26, 1930, to Burton E. and Dorothy E. Gidley, in Nodaway, Iowa. The family moved to Villisca, Iowa, when Ed was in 4th Grade. In 1947, he graduated from Villisca High School. Edward married Leatrice Danielson on June 2, 1948. They had two daughters, Tracy and Kris. In 2019, they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary. His career in the men's clothing business began at Andrews Clothing store in Villisca when Ed was 11, doing odd jobs. At age 13, he was allowed to do some sales work and his future was set. He eventually bought the store, and later, two other clothing stores in Denison, Iowa, and Auburn, Nebraska. He was an active member of the Villisca business community, serving on several boards, including many years on the Villisca Telephone Company board. In the 1960s, he became Iowa sales representative for Rubin Grais and Sons, a Chicago-based men's leather outerwear company. Later, he was named their Great Plains Regional Sales Manager. He served as president of Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska) Men's Apparel Club in 1969 and Men's Apparel Club of Iowa president in 1973. For 25 years he was one of Grais' top salesmen and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1980. At age 52, Ed and Lea retired to Bella Vista in 1982 to enjoy lake living, golf, fishing, gardening, following the stock market, family and friends. He also served on a local bank board. Over the years, they made many trips back to Villisca, where they maintained deep ties. He also loved to hunt those elusive morel mushrooms each spring. Ed is preceded in death by his parents and brother Allan. He is survived by his wife, daughters Tracy (Robert) Mullen and Kris (Fred) Gourley, grandchildren Cory (Jaclyn) Gourley, Bradley (Lindsey) Mullen, and Kelly Mullen (Philip Allamby), and great grandchildren, Hudson and Preston Gourley, and Jackson and Avery Mullen. Ed's well-lived life will be celebrated by his family at a later date. Memorials may be sent to Circle of Life Hospice in Bentonville or a favorite charity. Arrangements are by Bella Vista Funeral Home & Crematory. Condolences may be expressed at

Published October 29, 2019