American Veteran 04

John Paul Gunder

September 16, 1930 ~ May 18, 2022 (age 91)


John Paul Gunder passed away in his home, May 18, 2022.  In his own words, leaving his partner of 32 years, Darlene Gebhardt, who “made his life full of love, laughter and comfort.”  He was born September 16, 1930, to Clarence and Goldie (Harman) Gunder, in Gibsonburg, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, James Addison Gunder, Violet Rose (Gunder) Long and Iva Lena (Gunder) Anderson.

In 1949, John married Ruby Clark (deceased). They had three children, Margaret Ann ‘Micky’ (Gunder) Ovitt, Paula Joan (Gunder) Dennie and Juanita (Gunder) Spaulding.

From his marriage to Donna Mitchell Gagnon (deceased) in 1971, came his children Janice Faye Gunder, and Russel David Gunder.

Through his partnership with his best friend Darlene Gebhardt, he gained his “bonus children” James L. Gebhardt, Michael W. Gebhardt and Dianna L. Gebhardt.

John was a great supporter of his numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. He loved them dearly, and they loved him back.  He always had a funny word, a kind word, or a stern word to offer them when it was necessary.

John grew up on a farm in Wood County Ohio.  In 1947, at age 17, he joined the Army National Guard and was discharged in 1950. In 1951, he took an oath and become a member of the Ohio State Protective Association, Badge No. 42.  He was drafted into the US Army in 1956 and retired in 1976 as E-7Staff Sergeant. He did three tours in Germany and was in Viet Nam 1968-1969. He received many decorations including the Bronze Star, awarded for meritorious service or acts of valor while serving in combat operations. He also received The Purple Heart medal along with various others. He was very proud of his military service but was not boastful.

In 1980 John was a Census information gatherer. He enjoyed meeting so many people and hearing their stories. John never knew a stranger.

From 1979- 1991, he was the owner and operator of the Blue Lounge in Salina, Ks.  It’s here that he made many friends and had many stories to tell.  

John lived a full life. He took motorcycle trips and liked to travel and fish. He, “had been on big boats, small boats, airplanes big and little, and helicopters not to mention all the other good equipment the military had, like the smooth riding tanks and trucks that never missed a hole in the road.”

His passions were his family, genealogy, and history. He was a collector of books and an avid reader. He gardened and cooked and loved to feed people. He had a great sense of humor and was a bit of a prankster.  He enjoyed his coffee chats in the morning. He enjoyed the banter and felt it kept his mind sharp.  He believed hard work and exercise kept his body going. He loved walking twice a day with his favorite pups. He liked the visits he had with his neighbors along the way.  He was respectful and honest, and always had a smile on his face. He was non-judgmental and kind to everyone. He wanted to know your story, and if you were lucky enough, he would share one of his.

He was John, Honey, Dad, Grampa, Gramps, Uncle, Brother,and Best Friend to us; and at age 91, he leaves us too soon.

May he rest in peace.

A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 16, 2022 at Gypsum Hill Cemetery. A Celebration of life will follow at Masonic Temple.

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Graveside Service
July 16, 2022

10:00 AM
Gypsum Hill Cemetery
2020 E Iron Ave
Salina, KS 67401

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