John L. Gugino III

February 23, 1967December 2, 2018

John L. Gugino, III, 51, died unexpectedly on December 2, 2018 after suffering a long illness.

He resided in Madison County, but grew up in nearby Oconee County.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Hilah A. Smith Gugino of both Greensboro and Athens. He is survived by his life partner Sonia Abel of Nicholson, his father, John L. Gugino Jr., his stepmother, Peggy Gugino both of Statham, and his sister, Lisa Gugino Gunn and her husband Linwood Gunn and their children, Rebecca and Will Gunn, all of Marietta.

After graduating from Oconee County High School, John attended UGA where he received a BS in Business Administration. After working for several years in the business world, John decided to follow his mother’s career path and go back to school to receive his RN, which he did from Athens Tech. He then spent his entire career at Athens Regional Medical Center primarily working in the ER and intensive care. He finished his career by doing medical transfers and then retired after 20 plus years as a nurse.

John was an avid outdoorsman. He loved hiking, camping, canoeing and kayaking. He and his girlfriend Sonia spent many years as members of Paddle Georgia and loved nothing more than spending a relaxing day exploring a new river and spotting wildlife. He also cherished his annual camping trip and time around the campfire with his long time buddies Joe Lawrence and Joe Compagnia. During his lifetime he was fortunate enough to have visited many beautiful natural places, and enjoyed recounting stories of his canoeing trip to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota with Joe L. and his trip to Alaska to explore Denali National Park.

John also loved animals. He had a soft heart for all furry creatures, but was especially devoted to his dogs, Jax and Sophie. He and Sonia made a trail through their wooded property just so they could walk the dogs in the nature that they loved.

John was well known for his sense of humor, friendliness, and kindness. He will be dearly missed by his friends and family. Rest In Peace, John. Your life mattered greatly to all of us that knew you.

A memorial service and celebration of life is planned for next spring on John’s beloved Broad River.

Bernstein Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


John L. Gugino III

have a memory or condolence to add?

Joe Cook

December 12, 2018

To the Family and Friends of John,
As Paddle Georgia coordinator, I wanted you to know that all of us at Georgia River Network are so saddened by the news of John's death. John was part of the Paddle Georgia family and he will be missed greatly. He was the kind of Paddle Georgia participant who makes an impression. He was kind, helpful, generous and funny, and we always looked forward to having him on our journeys. We also knew that if someone needed medical assistance, you could always depend on John to lend a hand if needed. I recall one Fall Float on the Flint journey in which, for some reason, we ended up together in a long car shuttle sometime during the trip. I remember how insightful and funny he was about his observations of our journey. He kept me in stitches with laughter the whole ride. We will recognize John at Paddle Georgia 2019 next June along with other past participants who have crossed over the river during the past year. If possible, please let us know when the memorial service for John will be held so that we might attend it and pay our respects to John and his family.

Melissa Martin-Ruark

December 6, 2018

So saddened by the this news. John and I worked together for many years in the ICU and I have a lot of fond memories of our nights at the nurses’ station. He was a kind soul and a great guy in general. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and life partner at this time. May you find peace and comfort~

Kim Kluemper

December 5, 2018

I consider myself lucky to have known John. He will be forever frozen in my mind as the cousin with a fun personality, mischievous glint in his eye and a thick southern accent. (Although, I think he considered his family in NY to be the ones with an accent.) The world will be a less kind place without him. My deepest sympathy, Kim

Sarah Gugino

December 5, 2018

Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family at this time. We are so sorry for your loss. While we did not know John well, his obituary tells of a life lived pursuing his passions and giving to others. Much love to all.
Mark, Sarah, Drew and Bryce Gugino

Holly Cantrell - Back

December 4, 2018

I was lucky enough to date John when I was in high school. He had already graduated, but we had many of the same friends. I remember good times riding on the back of his motorcycle and beside him in his Buick. He could be crazy, silly, but always kind. I received a call one evening to come over to his house. He had been riding dirt bikes (I believe with John Kennedy) and had an accident. He had a terrible concussion. Lisa had to write down what had happened to him because every 10 minutes or so he would ask me what had happened. He took it all in stride... Most of the time that’s what John did. I loved is laid back, easy going personality. I’m sorry I didn’t know he was ill, but he will be remembered fondly forever ❤️. My deepest sympathy to those he left behind.

Allen Marlowe

December 4, 2018

John was a good friend back in the day. He was the coolest cat I knew with his trademark moustache and cowboy boots. We spent many afternoons hitting the heavy bag in his moms garage and lifting weights at the old Living Well Fitness Center. Man he was strong too! He loved his silver Buick Buick Regal and called it the Regal Beagle. He was such a kind person and very funny too. I am so sorry that I didn’t do a better job staying in touch with him over the years. Heartfelt Condolences.

Brent Oare

December 4, 2018


As we called him or anyone that knew him or was close to him will be missed! I grew up with John have many great memories of snow skiing with him and his mom or just hanging out and playing basketball in his driveway. John was a great guy always the life of the party. Very sad news to hear of Johns passing you will be missed John. Rest in Peace Brother!

Kathi Davis

December 4, 2018

I was so saddened to hear about John G.s passing. I wish I had seen him more recently than I had just to let him know I cared about him. May he always be remembered as a good friend and kind soul. Rest in peace.
With much love, Kathi Davis

Connie Chitwood-Watts

December 4, 2018

I worked with John many years in the ICU at ARMC. We shared many happy times together! He will be greatly missed!