Former Health Forward Board Chair Gurnie Gunter Passes Away After Long Illness

Col. Gurnie Gunter, former Chairman of the Health Forward Board of Directors, passed away Wednesday, February 25th after a long illness. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at the Watkins Brothers Chapel.

A strong advocate for the uninsured and underserved, Col. Gurnie Gunter was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1955. Following his retirement from the U.S. Army Engineer Corps in 1984, he served as the principal assistant to the director for economic development in Kansas City, Mo., responsible for oversight of the city’s economic development activities. Col. Gunter continued to hold positions of ever-increasing responsibility in Kansas City, including manager of street maintenance, city engineer and finally, director of the water services department, responsible for the administration and operation of the entire water, wastewater and storm water utilities.

Col. Gunter was family-oriented, devoted to his wife, sons and grandchildren, St. Paul Presbyterian Church, and serving the community. In addition to serving on the Health Forward Board of Directions, he was a member of the Lincoln University board of curators, board member of the Heartland Presbyterian Center, vice president of the Swope Ridge Geriatric Center, past moderator of Heartland Presbytery, life member and past chapter president of the Greater Kansas City American Red Cross, past chairman of the Linwood-Downtown YMCA, past president, Ivanhoe Club, past chairman of the KC Area Employer Support of Guard and Reserves, and past president of the Midwesterners Club of Kansas City.

Colonel Gurnie C. Gunter graduated cum laude from Lincoln University with a B.S. degree in biology. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign. Col. Gunter also received a master’s degree in military science from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., a master of business administration management from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and was a graduate of the United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

“Under Gurnie’s leadership, Health Forward became a national leader in ethics and diversity and a strong community voice for the uninsured and underserved,” said Steve Roling. “Gurnie’s presence will be missed, but his legacy will continue to live on through the resources and advocacy the Foundation provides to the community.”

To view/sign a guest book for Gurnie’s family, please visit