Services set for Dr. Gunn

Published 11:06 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

 Curtis Dale Gunn

Captain, Dr. Curtis Dale Gunn, 32nd Degree Master Mason, Master Mariner, Master of Ocean Going Steam and Motor Ships, age 80, of Andalusia, passed away Wed., June 8, in Tuscaloosa, Ala., surrounded by his loving family.

0610--Dale-Gunn-(2)A memorial service will be held Sat., June 11, 2016, at 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1307 E 3 Notch St, Andalusia, AL 36420.

Graveside services will be Mon., June 13, 2016, at 11 a.m. at Coaling Cemetery, 15150 Wire Road in Coaling, Ala. Abanks Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Howard of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Andalusia, will officiate both services.

He was preceded in death by the love of his life, his wife of 51 years, Jane Pardue Gunn. He is survived by his two daughters and sons-in-law, Danielle and Phillip Griffin and Robin and Wayne Reach; three grandchildren, Erin Jane Crosby, Vivian Lee Reach, and Savannah Dale Reach; and three great-grandchildren, Ryder Dale, Liam, and Olivia Jane Crosby; all of Tuscaloosa; sisters, Lynda Marie Gunn and Sandra Carol Gunn (Gary) Avery; brother-in-law Hobart Pardue; sister-in-law, Loretta Pardue; nephews, DeVan Pardue, Mike Avery, David Avery, Robbie Bain, and Timmy Bain; nieces, Elizabeth Pardue (David) Wolfe, Laurie Beth, Bonnie Bain, and Amy Bain; great-nieces, Rebecca Murray (William) Rushing, and Tara (Aaron) Varnado; great-nephew, Raymond Murray; and a host of additional family and friends.

Dr. Gunn served his country in several alphabetic agencies of government, only one or two of which he was ever able to identify publicly. His family knew when he was called on assignment but seldom knew where he was or what he was doing. The only member of their family ever able to adequately find him was his mother (just ask the general she tracked down). When his girls were asked at school what their daddy did for a living, the girls would say “ABCDEFG” and laugh, and the teachers thought they were really cute; however, they knew that the agencies for whom he worked had some letters in the name, but they didn’t know which ones. The real value in Dr. Gunn’s career was, not in knowing whom he worked for, but in knowing whether he felt the service he gave to his country was worthwhile, was worth doing, and was worth time away from home; it was.

Gunn earned his bachelor’s degree from Southeast Louisiana University, his master’s degree from Tulane University, and, in 1974, his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

Dr. Gunn spent more than 30 years serving the needs of Alabama’s mental health patients. He also spent more than 40 years teaching, including the last 15 years as a tenured history and psychology professor for Lurleen B. Wallace Community. He made a difference in the lives of so many. Dr. Gunn believed every human being needed to feel special. He recognized that, in our anonymous schools and jobs, in our conformist youth culture, and in the adult world of fame and wealth, it seems that social climbing and competition are the only way of finding what we need; he thought otherwise. His office was often filled with people who had lost their way or who just needed someone to listen. He was a gentleman, a man of integrity, and he believed in love and tolerance, and he led by example. Underneath, he knew all problems came down to our basic human needs: people need to feel valued, to feel important and special, to belong, and to be loved. He spread that love to all he encountered.

Though teaching was his calling, his real ministry was serving children as Santa Claus. He was an avid collector of trains, helicopters, and automobiles. He was a gifted storyteller as well; one could not leave his office without hearing a story about one of his grandchildren or his great-grandchildren. He lived his life in adoration of his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His love was unconditional.

The family would like to thank those who have been so helpful and loving since he suffered a stroke in February: Dr. Robert “Bob” Williams and all of his caring staff; Ruby, Jerry, Ernie, Britton and the other fine nurses at Gentiva Home Health; the staff at Care-Med and Darby’s Pharmacy; Comfort Care Hospice in Andalusia: Kim, April, and all the special nurses, as well as Comfort Care Hospice out of Pelham, Ala.; Gloria Gantt, Vera Pope, and Breanna Turner, who saw to his care 24/7; Gayle and Amanda Rawls, who cooked for him weekly; the substitute teachers who covered his classes, the Business and Social Science and the Language, Humanities, and Fine Arts divisions at LBWCC, especially his dear colleague Kristy White; his close neighbors at Point A; Mother Cindy and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church; and the ER and ICU staff at Andalusia Health.

To his students, he bids you one last “Konnichiwa.”

Pallbearers will be DeVan Pardue, Aaron Varnado, Philip Griffin, Wayne Reach, Robert Kirksey, Phillip Roy, and Chuck White.

Honorary pallbearers will be Ed Meadows, Jason Hurst, Tommy Greenstone, Mike Avery, David Avery, Robbie Bain, and Timmy Bain.