John Richmond Gunter

March 25, 1941March 1, 2023
Obituary of John Richmond Gunter
John Richmond Gunter of Birmingham, Alabama died March 1, 2023. He passed away in his home, where he lived for the last 30 years with his wife Sylvia, the love of his life. They were married for 59 years. John was born in Marks, Mississippi. He attended the University of Mississippi. He and Sylvia met on the square in Oxford at the Welcome Rebel freshman pep rally in the fall of 1959. He was a die-hard Ole Miss fan ever after. John earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Mississippi. He then attended graduate school at the University of Alabama. He and Sylvia were married in Tuscaloosa in 1963. He later completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. In 1964, John began his telephone career in Jackson, Mississippi. His intelligence, wisdom, integrity, and leadership were quickly recognized as he was given positions of increasing responsibility throughout his time with South Central Bell and Bellsouth in Jackson, Birmingham, and Atlanta. After working for the telephone company for 35 years, he retired as Vice President of Network Strategic Planning and Support. John was a faithful Christian who served each local church he attended as a deacon and beloved Sunday School teacher. Many pastors turned to him for a listening ear and wise counsel. John had a brilliant mind for numbers and offered his expertise to many nonprofit organizations, helping them to establish their nonprofit status and to keep their financial records. He was a lifelong learner. He never ran out of topics he could research. John had a generous heart for the underdog, looking for ways he could quietly and anonymously help those who just needed a hand or a step up to improve themselves. He had a love for Formula 1 and Indy car racing. His engineering mind was fascinated by all aspects of the sport. He loved photography and traveling in the US and abroad with Sylvia. When people talk about John, they always mention his faith and intelligence. But what he will be most remembered for is his sense of humor. His dry wit and turn of phrase were delightful. His humor is what made Sylvia first fall in love with him at Ole Miss and kept her laughing through many years. John is survived by his loving wife Sylvia; his children Charley (Marge) Gunter, David (Angie) Gunter, and Elizabeth (Todd) Powell; his grandchildren Richmond (Catherine) Gunter, Margie Gunter, Isabel Powell, and Alex Powell; his great grand-daughter Ginny Gunter; his beloved sister Peggy (Pete) O’Shea; his niece Amy (Bobby) Perkins and nephew Patrick O’Shea; and his great nieces and nephew Kathleen, Caroline, and Pate. He is preceded in death by his parents Charles and Elizabeth Gunter. There will be a private graveside service followed by a memorial service held on Tuesday, March 7 at 1:00 at Southern Heritage Funeral Home. A reception will follow at Southern Heritage. Memorial donations may be made to two organizations close to John’s heart: • Restoration Academy, PO Box 30, Fairfield, AL 35064 ( • The Father’s Business, PO Box 380333, Birmingham, AL 35238 (

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Past Services

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

A Celebration of Life Service with Reception to follow

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

A Celebration of Remembrance for John Richmond Gunter