McConnell Funeral Home

1200 E Forrest St, Athens, AL


Reverend Robert (Bob) Wilbanks Gunn

April 14, 1938January 6, 2020

Rev. Robert (Bob) Wilbanks Gunn, 81, died peacefully on January 6, 2020. Bob received his AB degree in Greek from Birmingham-Southern college and completed his Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. As a young man, Bob answered the call to ministry and was ordained an elder in full connection in the North Alabama Conference in 1963. He began his career in professional ministry at Hartselle First Methodist Church as a youth director. As an ordained elder, Bob served the following churches: Duncan, Cullman First Associate, Wesley Memorial, Aliceville, Jacksonville, Albertville First, Sheffield First, Tuscaloosa First, Latham, Sylacauga First, Jasper First, and East Lake. After retiring in 2002, Bob continued in ministry by serving as interim pastor at St. James UMC in Florence, serving as spiritual director for the Athens Emmaus Cluster, and accepted many invitations to share his passion for preaching with many congregations. In 1965, Bob was appointed to a vacant lot (soon to be known as Wesley Memorial) and, with God’s help in finding Christ-filled people, he was instrumental in growing the church to over 300 members in 4 years. In 1971, Bob was a part of the Rotary Exchange Program to Denmark. While serving in Aliceville, Bob was awarded the honor of Citizen of the Year. During his time in Jacksonville, he was awarded the honor of Man of the year. He served on the Board of a Trustees of Birmingham Southern College and was asked to serve as a lifelong member. Throughout his ministry, Bob selflessly served on countless District and Conference committees, teams, and boards. Bob expressed his gratitude for his ministry with these words: Thanks for being called to a profession that was so fulfilling, challenging, and most of the time fun. Thanks that the gifts continued, even when I gave less than my best. Bob wrote many poems and authored two books. Bob was preceded in death by his father, Raymond Lowell Gunn, his mother, Virginia Wilbanks Gunn, and his brother, William Lowell Gunn. He is survived by his wife, Gwen Dillard Gunn, his two sons, Robert Gunn (Julianne), and Patrick Gunn (Rachelle), and four grandchildren, Dalton Gunn, Nathan Gunn, Jonah Warren and Jordan McKenzie. The Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, January 12, 2020, at Grace United Methodist Church, 2113 Old Monrovia Rd, Huntsville, Alabama. Visitation will be from 2:00 to 4:00pm, with the Celebration following at 4:00. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Alzheimer’s Association.


  • Visitation Sunday, January 12, 2020
  • Celebration of Life Sunday, January 12, 2020


Reverend Robert (Bob) Wilbanks Gunn

have a memory or condolence to add?

Koven Brown

January 12, 2020

Although Bob was never my pastor, I had the opportunity as a funeral director in Jacksonville, to work with him on several funerals. He was always smiling and a joy to be around...a very positive person. May God’s loving arms embrace this family and give them the peace that only He can give.

Paul Julich

January 12, 2020

Gwen, so saddened to hear about Bob. Only had one chance to meet him, at you and Pat's high school reunion. I felt I had known him all my life as we shared our experiences with God. Pat and I commented afterward that we wished we were closer and could visit more. I was so surprised to hear of his home going. His character truly expressed the nature of his Father. I'm sure you heard that Pat went home in December.

Susan Allen

January 12, 2020

I never saw Bob without a smile! If he spotted you then you knew you would get a hug or a special greeting. He was a bright light and you just knew he was a good man. Heard him speak a few times and always enjoyed his sermons. He will be missed by so many people but Heaven is brighter now!

Lisa Bonds

January 11, 2020

Bob, is lighting up Heaven even more with his smile and laughter. I know he is sitting at the feet of Jesus praising him and singing Hallelujah with his beautiful voice. He never met a stranger and always had a warm, kind, and beautiful thought for all he met. You always felt that you were important and loved every time here saw you or talked with you. Thanks for loving us so Bob. You were and are a wonderful shepherd and Minister. Thanks for sharing God's love for me. You truly were one of God's lifesavers.

Rick Ashley

January 11, 2020

Bob was such a good and caring minister. He came to minister at St James UMC at a time that we were in a dark place. He took us by the hand and brought us safely to the other side. I was the Chairperson of SPRC at that time and Bob and I shared many truths with each other. When he returned years later the friendship was renewed with just a brotherly hand shake and found memories of our time together at a much earlier time. My heart is not saddened in hearing of Bob leaving this world to spend eternity with his Lord and savior. He was a man of great faith and I know he is much enjoying proving his faith to be true. We shall meet again. He shall not return here but one day we shall go to where he is. Thank God for shepherds like Bob Gunn.

Mike Banks

January 11, 2020

Rev. Gunn was always there to with his smile. He was so supportive of me as I entered the ministry with kind words and advice.
He was truly a great ambassador for Christ. Thank you Rev. Gunn, you will be greatly missed.

Donna Evans

January 11, 2020

Bob was a wonderful Man, he always had a smile and song in his heart. He would truly listen to you. He made my sons feel so welcome in church.

Shannon Rosenthal

January 11, 2020

He was such a genuine, loving person and his smile was infectious. He had a special light about him and it was obvious that he was a man of God!

Lisa Lindsey

January 10, 2020

I loved his hugs and smiles. He always made me feel loved.

Keith Elder

January 9, 2020

Peace and Comfort during this time. Thankful for Bob's role in my life and my ministry from its earliest days in Jacksonville. "Well done, good and faithful...."