Karl Fredrick Gaither Jr.

August 29, 1933January 26, 2021
Obituary of Karl Fredrick Gaither Jr.
Karl Fredrick Gaither, Jr. Arizona native. Navy Veteran. Soul mate. Family man. There are so many ways we can describe Karl Fredrick Gaither, Jr., who left this Earth peacefully on January 26, 2021, and one we will never use – forgotten. Karl was born on August 29, 1933, in his home at 1317 E. Culver St. in Phoenix, to Greta and Karl Sr. Raised by a teacher and railroad employee, respectively, he and his siblings – Dorothy, Lewis, Bertha, and youngest kid John – knew the value of hard work and dedication early in life. Karl attended Garfield and Whittier Elementary Schools and his mother made sure he never missed a Sunday school class at Garfield Methodist Church. Karl was a proud member of the graduating class of 1951 of Phoenix Union High School. After all, it was in his senior year Civics class where he met the love of his life, Evelyn. Evelyn still remembers how the guy in tall jeans and red corduroy shirt entered the room, and it was love at first sight. Karl and Evelyn would marry on January 29, 1954, and share 67 loving years, never far from each other’s side, raising three beautiful girls – Brenda, Denise (Paul Maurer), and Karlene (Steve Edling). But duty to country was his first priority as he yearned to follow in the footsteps of older brother, Lewis. From 1951 to 1955, Karl served proudly and with honor on the CV-34 U.S.S. Oriskany as an Aviation Electronics Tech USN U1 with Navy Squadron VC-35 “Night Hecklers.” It was while home on leave that Karl and Evelyn took their vows and moved to an apartment on Diamond St. – just two blocks from Pacific Beach. He would serve seven months overseas, the longest time the two would be apart, before being honorably discharged September 27, 1955, with good conduct and national defense medals. But Arizona is where he always wanted to be. Returning to Phoenix after the service, the young Gaithers bought their first home on Sells Drive. Karl took a position with the telephone company, then called Mountain States, beginning his impressive, 35-year career as a Lineman with the Construction Department. In 1967 he was promoted to a management position and gladly served as acting manager wherever the company needed him. Karl became Manager of the Douglas office in 1968, an assignment he truly enjoyed. He would also come to cherish the community of Douglas, residing on Frederic Drive, and being very active in the Elks Club (Exalted Ruler and District Deputy Southern Arizona), Kiwanis (2nd Vice President), and Douglas Valley Chamber of Commerce (Director), as well as Arizona Phone Folks. Changes in the telephone company in the early 70’s offered the opportunity for Karl to become Manager of Network Services, moving the family to Pomona Road in Tucson, where they would reside until his retirement on February 28, 1990. With Evelyn also retired from her position at First Interstate Bank, Karl and Evelyn found excitement in motorhome road trips, often accompanied by friends from Arizona Phone Folks. From Mexico to Canada, and across several Western and Midwestern states, the two enjoyed a life filled with incredible adventures and summers in the cool of Montrose, Colorado. Karl and Evelyn would put down final roots in the Happy Trails community in Surprise, Arizona. From there, he would enjoy many holidays, celebrations and family reunions. He also enjoyed The First Families of Arizona monthly meetings and the connections he re-established in Culver and across Arizona. Karl never knew a stranger, enjoyed the sport of hunting as well as a good book, kept the local quail and doves well fed, doted on the family dogs (Lady, Buttons, Pooh Bear, Bugs, Babe, Skeeter and Sammie), lit up rooms with his smile, and gave the best bear hugs. He is survived not just by his wife and daughters, but by his grandchildren Brian Maurer (Karen), Desiree (Jon Grenay), Stephanie Edling and Kyle Edling, as well as great-grandchildren Emily Maurer and Karsten Maurer, whom he loved with all his heart. Services will be announced at a later date. Please feel free to leave memories of Karl and condolences to his family via this website.

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Memorial & Celebration of Life to be announced in the future