Remembering Harold Gunter

  • Thu Jan 15th, 2015 9:00pm
  • Life

The Gunter family about 1939

It would be hard to find someone that could say a bad word about Harold Gunter. He always seemed to be in a good mood and was always willing to help someone down on their luck.

On a beautiful day last week he made a purchase at True Value and stepped out the door and…

Harold was born in Chehalis in April 1932. His father, William, wanted to name him Harold but his mother, Ruth, was set on James Keith. So, his dad said OK, go ahead and name him that but I am going to call him Harold.

Harold’s father was a millworker in a saw mill and his mother worked at home. As a little boy a mishap with a slingshot caused him to lose his sight in one eye. Even with what some might call a handicap Harold never let it hold him back, even becoming a pilot later in life.

He often told his children and others that he had lost his eyesight from “winking at too many girls.”

As a young man Harold had a job for a time in a bakery. Cake making became a hobby and for most of his life he baked and decorated cakes for family and friends. His daughter Carol said he eventually gave up the cake baking but continued to make wonderful, huge decorated gingerbread cookies for his grandchildren.

The Gunter family moved to Forks around 1957. Through the years Harold was an active member in the Lions and Elks clubs, serving as scholarship presenter for the Lions Club at graduation for a number of years.

In the 1970s Harold owned several businesses, including mills and Peninsula Helicopters. In 1977, he actively pursued a contract with the Forks Hospital to provide medical evacuation services. He felt he could help when logging accidents occurred by getting the injured to treatment faster via the air. He also was featured in an Evening News story about flying cedar blocks using helicopters.

His love of flying also transferred to his children and most took flying lessons and they were known as “The Flying Gunter Family.” He also was behind the formation of a local pilots association in 1974.

After retiring from the mill business Harold purchased a number of rental properties and many remember him as providing them their first rental when they first moved to Forks. Some of the comments in light of his passing:


One of the best people I ever knew, very sad.

Even though I didn’t know him well, he was always such a kind man going through my line at the store. He called me “sweetie” and always had a nice word and smile.

Harold touched a lot of lives, he will be missed. R.I.P.

Harold was a nice friendly man, always had a smile and greeting whenever I saw him.

One of the nicest men I have ever met. He owned the mill my husband worked at, thoughts and prayers to his family.

He was always lending a helping hand to those in need. This community will suffer a huge loss of humanity without him. His family and friends are in our prayers!

He was a nice guy — we rented from him when we first moved here.

Harold Gunter touched a lot of lives, even at 82 years old he was still going strong, it reminds us all everything can change in a moment’s notice.