Commander Howard Philip Gunther
Commander Howard Philip Gunther, USN Retired, born Aug. 10, 1927, Brooklyn, N.Y.
At ease, sir.
The world lost a gentle man Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Howard Philip Gunther was a man above all men. A lifelong Republican, his love for his country never wavered. As a young man, he enlisted in the Navy and served his nation proudly for 27 years, traveling the world over.
On Jan. 31, 1953, he married the love of his life, Adelaide Katheryn Brentano. The day before he passed away Howard and Addie celebrated 64 years of marriage. It was a celebration indeed.
Always an officer, always a gentleman. He was the only son of Minnie C. Gunther (Hebig) and Howard F. Gunther. After he graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, he heard the call of the sea. In 1945, he joined the Navy to serve his country. He attended Officers Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and graduated as an ensign in November 1956. He served aboard many ships during his honored career. His first command was the USS Catawba when he was only a lieutenant.
In 1967, he was stationed in Newport, R.I., and served as executive officer aboard the USS Sperry. His family was always found waving from the pier upon his return from overseas, thrilled to have him home.
In 1969, he served in Vietnam as the American liaison officer with the Philippine Contingent Forces and the Spanish Medical Mission Forces. In Vietnam, he earned a Bronze Star among many other commendations for his service. Cmdr. Gunther was a destroyer expert. He was last stationed in Newport, R.I., and taught at the destroyer school.
Commander Gunther retired from the Navy in 1971. Following retirement, he built H. P. Gunther Tobacco Company. He loved serving his customers and trading stories with them while enjoying his pipe with like-minded people. His passion was the sea. He loved his boats and sailing with his family in and around Narragansett Bay and passed that love on to his daughters. He and his daughter Carol cruised the eastern seaboard and Intracoastal Waterway from Rhode Island to Florida — a life memory for father and daughter!
Recently, he celebrated 50 years as a 32nd Degree Mason in the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Florida. His lodge had never honored one of their own for 50 years of service before Howard.
After years of living in Florida, Howard and Addie retired to Ellijay where children and grandchildren love to visit. Above all, Howard’s family was the light of his life. His wife Addie and three daughters were with him to the end. He was well aware of the love and prayers that were being sent to him from all of his beloved grands.
He is preceded in death by grandson, Benjamin Philip Maxwell.
He is survived by lovely wife, Adelaide Katheryn; three daughters, Karen Gunther (Paul Fong), of Lowell, Mass., Carol Matwiczyk (Peter), of Palm Beach, Fla., Jessica Maxwell (Grover), of Charleston, S.C.; six grandchildren, Christopher Joseph Fleming III (Anne), of San Diego, Calif., Ashley Heard Sewell, of Charleston, S.C., Jason William Sewell, of Atlanta, Grover Cleveland Maxwell IV, of Charleston, S.C., Lindsay Hooker Maxwell, of Beverly Hills, Calif., Samuel Gunther Maxwell, of Charleston, S.C.; and six great-grandchildren, Live Grace Heard Sewell, Colt Sewell, Adelaide Katheryn Fleming, Madeleine Rose Fleming, Grace Temblador and Joseph Temblador.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, 115 Pleasant Grove Road, Ellijay.
In lieu of flowers, make donations to the Elaine Clark Center benefitting children with special needs, 5130 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Chamblee, GA 30341 www.elaineclarkcenter.