John Alan Gunn
1931 - 2013
Colonel John Alan Gunn (USMC, ret), 82, of Gulf Breeze, left this earth on June 24, 2013 and into the arms of his heavenly Father.
John was a man of honor, pride, and integrity. He was a dedicated Marine, community advocate, and devoted family man. He faithfully served his country, his church, and his community. He fought his debilitating dementia with laughter, a kind heart, and strength of character, fitting of a Marine. He will forever be in our hearts.
John was born and raised in Chicago, IL and graduated from Morgan Park High School. He received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Monmouth College in Illinois. He was a 40-year career newspaperman, with 26 years in news and 14 years in sports with newspapers in Monmouth and Galesburg, IL, Wilmington, NC, Richmond, VA, Costa Mesa, CA, and Pensacola, FL. He retired as an assistant sports editor of The Orange County, CA Register in Santa Ana, CA in 1994.
John was the co-author of the Virginia 1968 Freedom of Information Act and received the George Mason Award from the Richmond Sigma Delta Chi. He was the only editor on duty at The Richmond News Leader the day JFK was assassinated and had the duty of yelling "stop the presses" and helped crank out an updated edition hours later. Through the years, he interviewed politicians, sports legends, celebrities, and military heroes.
A retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel, he served two years on active duty at Quantico, VA, Cherry Point (where he met his wife Joan), and New River, NC. He spent 28 years in the Reserves with units in Illinois, Virginia, and California.
When John retired to Gulf Breeze in 1995, the newsman continued to write stories for the Pensacola News Journal, the Gulf Breeze Sentinel, the Pensacola Beach Islander, and published the monthly newsletter of the Military Officers Association of America. He loved his Gulf Breeze community and served as chairman of the Gulf Breeze Development Review Board. He was a tireless American Red Cross volunteer, working around the clock during numerous hurricanes. He was the local chapter's Volunteer of the Year in 1998. John was a faithful member of Calvary Chapel of Gulf Breeze, and his smiling face was at the door greeting members on many Sundays.
John combined his love of sports and the Marine Corps by authoring two books on Marine Corps football. Over decades, John collected and saved professional, college, and military sporting news. His collection primarily focused on memorabilia from college and professional football and basketball, and also military football game-day programs from the WWII era. His collection, one of the largest sports collections in the country, was donated to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where it continues today to be a research tool for journalists and sportswriters.
John is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 56 years, Joan Gunn, and his parents Alan and Clara Gunn. He is survived by four of God's finest children: Laura Catterton (Allen) of Cantonment, FL; Victoria Street (Audie) of Cantonment, FL; Becky Gunn of St. Paul, MN; and Bruce Gunn (Luz) of Gulf Breeze, FL. He is also survived by his sister Nancy Brown of Chicago, IL, nephew Mark Brown and niece Tracy O'Brien, both of Chicago, IL; and five grandchildren: Alex Dunlop, Casey Street, Luke Street, Lindsay Chiles, and Alan Gunn; and one great-granddaughter, Angelique.
The family would like to thank the caring and compassionate staff of Pacifica Senior Living Creekside and the Emerald Coast Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Pensacola Waterfront Mission.
A graveside funeral service with military honors will be held at 11:45 AM, on Friday, July 26, 2013 at Barrancas National Cemetery/NAS Pensacola.
Arrangements entrusted to Rose Lawn Funeral Home of Gulf Breeze. You may offer condolences, share memories and sign the guestbook at www.roselawn-fh.com
Express your condolences in our guestbook at pnj.com/obits
Published in Pensacola News Journal on July 3, 2013