Broom ~ Guitar
Bill Donley ~ Drums, drums
Duane Gusse ~ Keyboards
Chuck Nelson ~ Lead Guitar
Gary Osborne ~ Guitar
Leonard Reser ~ Bass
In Memory of
Duane Robert Gusse, age 69, passed away peacefully in his home in Olympia, on Feb. 1, 2013. He was born to Byron and Florence Gusse on Jan. 1, 1944, in Tacoma. He attended school in Waitsburg, where he discovered his talent and love for music and sports. While still in high school, he began his musical career playing keyboards and singing in popular local bands. He attended various colleges over the years including Central Washington University and Portland State University.
While in Portland, he met and married Delores Paulsen. Together they had three children, Yvonne Gusse Walker, Jeffrey Gusse and Steven Gusse. They also adopted Kimberly Gusse. Duane’s day job was for Dun and Bradstreet, but he lived for the music — playing with The Gems, Le Sabres and countless piano bars in the Portland Metro area. The family moved to Dayton in 1975 and he worked quality control for Green Giant.
He continued playing music — both with local groups and in piano bars. When he left Green Giant, he began a long career as an appraiser. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s he worked for Columbia County — first as a field appraiser, then as the county assessor. During this time, he and Delores divorced; and he met and married Margaret MacKinnon, who was his soul mate and best friend for the next 31 years. They moved to Western Washington, eventually settling in Olympia. He continued his appraisal career culminating in opening up Gusse-Wilson Appraisal Services, Inc. with partners Scott and Jean-Marie Wilson.
In 2003 he began reconnecting with the members of several bands from the ‘60s and this led to a resurgence of his musical career. He played with the Dukes of Juke for several years before reuniting with The Gems. He retired in 2010 and was able to devote more time to music and entertaining the crowds. Some of his other joys included watching his son’s wrestling events, perfecting his backyard grilling skills, playing with his basset hounds and exploring grocery stores.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret; his children; 10 grandchildren; and his dogs, Ranger and Maddie.
A celebration of his life is being planned for June in the Walla Walla area
The Versatiles began in 1959 as the Eclipses to play for high school dances. Jeff played guitar, but only knew three chords in the key of E and Duane preferred to play piano in the key of G. When Chuck and Gary came to town, we added them and changed the name.
We made some demo tapes in Duane's living room on an old mono-track Wollensak reel-to-reel recorder. We had no idea what to do with them, however.
We played in grange halls, legion halls, school gyms, and even made it to the big time at the Natatorium in Walla Walla.
Bill Donley, February 2013