Gunther K. Hetzel

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Gunther K. Hetzel, 88, died Saturday, January 10th at his home in Rutland, Vermont surrounded by family.

Son of Arthur and Frieda Hetzel, Gunther was born in Karlsurhe, Germany, on March 15, 1926. At 18 months, he immigrated to the United States, and before his 18th birthday he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, proud and determined to serve the USA.

Gunther was an electrician mate aboard the USS Vicksburg, whose baptism of fire included the bombardment of Iwo Jima in WWII. After 3.5 years of service, it was his battle with malaria that rendered him a 3-month hospital stay in the care of Theresa Scognio, his nurse and future wife of 64 years. His civilian career spanned Sealtest, WT Grant, Firestone and, finally, General Electric, where he retired in 1990.

Gunther is survived by his nine children, Donna Greeno and her husband, Clarence, of Pittsford; Tom Hetzel and his wife, Karen, of North Easton, MA; Artie Hetzel and his wife, Patty, of North Clarendon; Theresa Anderson of Proctor; Carolyn Hanrahan and her husband, Christopher, of Pittsford; Gunther Jr. (G.K.) and his wife, Kristy, of Richmond; Rosie Piontek and her husband, Walter, of Center Rutland; Maria McDonough and her husband, Dan, of Brandon; and Jim Hetzel and his wife, Darlene, of Rutland. He is also survived by 27 loving grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Gunther was predeceased by his wife, Theresa Scognio Hetzel; by a granddaughter, Christine Greeno; and son-in-law, Gordie Anderson Jr.

Not a day went by without proud mention of war stories aboard the USS Vicksburg. Though he never thought himself a hero, Gunther was most proud of his service as a WWII veteran and of the legacy he leaves behind in his still growing family. We love you, Dad, and we miss you, Papa XXX-OOO.

There will be no calling hours. Funeral services will take place at Christ the King Church in Rutland on Friday, January 16th at 10:30 a.m. with a reception to follow at the American Legion (33 Washington St., Rutland). Burial will be at a later date in St. Alphonsus Cemetery in Pittsford.

The family suggests for those who wish memorial contributions in Gunther's memory be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675 (woundedwarriorproject.org) to honor Gunther's devout love of country.

Barnard Funeral Home in Pittsford is handling arrangements.
Funeral Home
Barnard Funeral Home - Pittsford
3186 US Route 7
Pittsford, VT 05763
802-483-2811
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Published in Rutland Herald from Jan. 12 to Jan. 13, 2015
bullet U.S. Navy bullet World War II