SALINAS, Calif. (KION) UPDATED 7/5/20 11:45 p.m. A visitation for Mayor Joe Gunter will be held next Saturday, July 11th from 12:00-4:00 p.m. at Struve and Laporte Chapel in Salinas.
Friends of Gunter set up a memorial fund in his honor as well for the annual Monterey County Veteran's Day Parade in Salinas.
He served in the Marines during the Vietnam War.
Private memorial services will take place at the California Central Coast Veteran's Cemetery.
For more information on the memorial fund, click here: https://www.cfmco.org/cfmco_fund_list/mayor-joe-gunter-memorial-fund-for-the-veterans-day-parade/
PREVIOUS STORY 6/30/20:
Friends and Salinas residents are remembering Joe Gunter after his passing Monday.
Friends and former colleagues told KION Mayor Gunter was honest, a family man and had a great sense of humor. He never stopped putting the
community first, even until the end.
Gunter’s memory lives on with friends and colleagues who knew him for his love of Salinas. They’re shocked and devastated to hear of his passing.
“Cried a lot last night when I found out. I was heartbroken. I don’t know–I
just feel lost,” said Gary Edwards, a former colleague at the Salinas Police Department. “He’s going to be missed. He’s really, really going to be missed."
Longtime friend Gary Edwards, worked with Gunter at the Salinas Police
Department for about 30 years and both officers had been promoted to detectives. The two also volunteered at the Salinas Rodeo together.
“We worked a lot together, we worked as partners on a lot of cases, and we
got to know each other really well. We were just the best of friends. He’s
like brother to me,” Edwards said.
Gunter retired in 2002 after 32 years on the force. In 2012, he was the first Police Officer ever elected as Mayor of Salinas.
Those who knew him well said he put the community first, even until his last days.
“Joe was always active, always did his meetings, was always around so there were no indications that he had any health challenge because he was always dedicated to his community,” Supervisor Luis Alejo, who worked with Gunter in local government, said.
Supervisor Alejo told KION after being a cancer survivor for many years,
Gunter’s cancer returned and he ended up in the hospital. Then things took a turn for the worst.
He passed away at Salinas Valley memorial hospital Monday night at the age of 73.
“We lost a great public servant. Not only was he a veteran, a husband, a
father, but somebody who was so involved in so many aspects of Salinas,” Alejo said.
Supervisor Luis Alejo is proposing that Salinas city leaders name the new police station in honor of Gunter. Allejo said it would be a testament to him that he cared about police officers and community safety.
Local leaders said Gunter played a pivotal role in the creation of the new
station, the Gabilan library and Salinas Soccer Complex, a multi-million dollar project he was able to see come to life last September.
The fields, enjoyed by locals, will forever serve as a reminder of this public servant’s passion for his community: Salinas.