In Loving Memory of
Lawrence A. Gunther
July 12, 1953 ~ June 11, 1996


I'd like to say a few words about Larry as he was very special to me as only little brothers can be.

Though we fought like most siblings, there was a bond that has always held. We were each other's protectors and playmates--though I left HIM with more scars than he to me.

He caught me smoking once and blackmailed me for a quarter--only years later did I find out he'd squealed anyway--I'm still waiting for my quarter with interest!

We each have our special memories of Larry and just mentioning his name usually brings a smile to everyone's face. One of his qualities was his smile--it was a contagious one.

A friend suggested I name three accomplishments Larry did to prepare for this, but I found that hard to do. Not because he didn't accomplish 3 things--only that you have to look at his life differently.

He worked at a job he loved, he married, and has a beautiful family--these are things most of us have done--yet what makes his accomplishments special is the manner in which he approached his life--despite the adversity that would crush most people. He still managed to live his life and appreciate what he had.

His favorite uncle stated: "He was three times the man" of any he knew.

From his dialysis team at EMMC (where they were told he had maybe 6 months left--he lived nearly 6 more years)---They remarked on his courage, dignity, and mostly how despite his illness, which was time-consuming with the care he required, the illness wasn't his main focus--it was just one of many detours he had to take in order to live his life. What was very evident to them was his pride in his family.

His courage as he faced the unrelenting complications from diabetes was one of his strong points.

As Winston Churchill remarked:

"Courage is the first of human qualities--because it is THE quality which guarantees all the others."

Larry had his moments when he was overwhelmed by his illness but he would bounce back and continue on with his challenge to live. I'd like to read something that expresses well how he faced the challenge:

CHALLENGE

I marvel at the courage of the shrub or little tree
That struggles 'mongst the rocks, well knowing it can never be
Much more than just a scrawny scrub, yet serving in God's plot
To add a little beauty to a useless barren spot.

I've seen them cling tenaciously to sides of rocky bluff,
As if in pure defiance of those elements so rough;
Or else to strive to justify audacity to choose
Such most unlikely habitat with odds so great to lose.

They send their eager tendons out along thin veins of soil,
Extracting meager sustenance for their persistent toil;
Thus serving as a challenge to us mortals who complain
About the petty hardships that we often entertain.

by Carl Rollins

I felt this describes well his own challenge and the tenacity and perseverance he and his family demonstrated. Family was important to Larry also and his pride in them was paramount.

To his mom he was her "best buddy", frequently lying back in the recliner and chatting away on many of his visits.

To Dad--remember the many hours chatting on the phone (as men can do).

To his eldest, Joyce--she was his "kiddo" and she'll remember how she could earn an extra hour up at night by making him his cup of tea.

To his next, Maria, he enjoyed having her read to him and also to accompany him on his jaunts at "junking".

For Anna--when no one else could settle her down--he could do it by rubbing her head softly and he'd accomplish what mom couldn't after 2 hours.

Baby Carolyne he enjoyed having crawl into his bed despite mom's "no" because the sound of her sucking her thumb could lull him to sleep quickly.

To Sheila--she was his life--not just because she was his main caregiver--but because she kept the normalcy in his life. She accepted his illness as a part of their life-- sharing the courage and determination to be a family and live as one to the fullest. To her we owe much and may she have no regrets.

We all will have many memories of Larry and I will cherish mine:

There is a tender thought of you,
Down deep within my heart,
That forms of every lovely day
The brightest, dearest part.

Though fate our paths may separate,
And hide your smile from view,
'Tis powerless to take from me
The memory of you.

From Dr. Keller who was his surgeon for many years:

Larry was someone who amazed me--his strength, his attitude. No matter what happened, he would always bounce back. On the day he died, before he was removed from the ventilator, he reached out to shake my hand, and thank me for the care I had given him. I admired Larry and his wife for their courage and strength.

For all of us, I'd like to close with this paragraph by Angelo Patri:

In one sense there is no death. The life of a soul on earth lasts beyond his departure. You will always feel that life touching yours, that voice speaking to you, that spirit looking out of other eyes, talking to you in the familiar things he touched, worked with, loved as familiar friends. He lives on in your life and in the lives of all others that knew him.
~ by Larry's sister, Joyce Petrosky


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