Richard "Dick" Gunther, 82, of Prescott, Ariz., bade us all a fond 'adieu' on Nov. 16, 2012, surrounded by his family.
He was born May 13, 1930, in Yorkville, N.Y. At 7 years old, he stepped up to be the man of the house, delivering ice and newspapers to provide income for the family after his father died. He left high school to work as a mechanic on the tugboats in New York harbor and for a few years enjoyed the life of a merchant marine, making several Atlantic crossings to Scandinavia. His maritime career was cut short by the Korean War. Drafted by the army, the service brought him to Alaska in 1959, where he embraced the pioneering spirit of the territory. He was a master mechanic, working on the Army's fleet of diesel engines and received many awards for his ideas and innovations to keep the Arctic trucks running. Following active duty, he dedicated 35 more years to the federal service in the Facilities Engineers Dept. at Ft. Richardson.
He had an extra-ordinary mechanical ability and passion for building any number of things. His work-shop was his castle, and he was always working on one project or another. Over the years, Dick built numerous friendships as well as several airplanes, boats, hovercraft, cabins and homes. He could always be counted on to 'make it fly.'
Married to Lois Willard in 1963, the two made a home and raised two children with love, wisdom and patience. In the '60s and '70s, he was a volunteer with the National Ski Patrol and set up the communications systems at Mt. Alyeska and enjoyed conducting avalanche control. An aviation enthusiast, he was president of the Experimental Aircraft Association for several years and enjoyed traveling to air shows within Alaska and outside. After retiring to Prescott Valley, he continued to build aircraft and be a participant in the local EAA chapter, organizing fly-ins and serving as a technical advisor.
He was preceded in death by his parents Hermann and Else Gunther. He is survived by his loving wife Lois and their children, Walter and Gretchen; and his sister, Hildegard Goppold.
A celebration of life for Richard will be at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, at Prescott United Methodist Church, 505 W. Gurley St., Prescott, Ariz.
Please visit www.heritagemortuary.com to sign Richard's online guestbook.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Open Door Ministry in Prescott.
Heritage Memory Mortuary assisted the family with arrangements.
Information provided by survivors.