Keizer: John Lee Gunter passed away on November 14, 2011 at the age of 86. John was born in Phoenix, Arizona on August 1, 1925, to Joe Lee Gunter and Willie Elizabeth Ray Gunter. When he was a year old the family moved to Fort Stockton, Texas, where he grew up. His passion was being a cowboy and throughout his life he still thought of himself as a cowboy. He loved going to rodeos. John honorably served in the U. S. Navy right out of high school. He was a 2nd Class Petty Officer during World War II. After serving his country he went to work for the Oregon State Highway Department (now ODOT). He worked in several capacities, i.e. laborer, surveyor, highway maintenance and then became a District Highway Maintenance Engineer. His districts included Coquille, Grants Pass, Roseburg, Klamath Falls, Corvallis and Salem. He excelled in his 43 years with the department. He worked with many different people and made friends with most of them. John retired in 1986 and immediately went to work for Albina Fuel out of Portland. Retired from there at the age of 83 (2008). He took great pride in his work. It was important to do the best job he knew how.
John was a member of the Episcopal Church and served as a Jr./Sr. Warden in Roseburg. John was a life time member of the Elks Club and also was a Rotarian in Klamath Falls.
John married Zola Beatrice Miller in 1944, and was divorced in 1984. His children include John Lee Gunter, Jr, (wife, Randi) Canby; Jeffrey David Gunter, (wife Win), Silverton, Lael Emily Gunter Cooksley (husband Darrell), Redmond. He has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. In 1996, John married Shirley (Erickson) Calahan. He is survived by his loving wife Shirley, step-son Jeffery Erickson, and four step-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister. His family was his continual pride and joy.
A celebration of life/Memorial will be held Saturday, December 3, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. in Cone Chapel at Willamette University, 900 State Street, Salem, Oregon. A reception will follow at Keizer Civic Center 930 Chemawa Road NE, Keizer, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice or to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service. On line guest book at www.vtgolden.com.