Henry Gunther passed away in the late evening on May 1, 2018, at his home in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Henry was preceded in death by his parents (Christian and Edith), son Kerry and grandson Keith. He is survived by his brother Rolf (Anna) Gunther, grandson Christian Gunther, ex-wife Alice Gunther, longtime girlfriend Sharon, his Air America buddies, Sheriff’s Department family, and many friends and extended family around the world.
There are no services, per his request. A celebration of his life will be held at his favorite hangout, College Street Brewhouse and Pub in Lake Havasu City on Friday, May 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. In lieu of cards or flowers, those wishing to are encouraged to make a donation in Henry’s honor to the Disabled American Veterans
Henry was born July 29, 1935, in Pre-WWII Germany. He and his family survived the devastating bombings of Hamburg during the war and eventually immigrated to the U.S. settling in Big Bear Lake, California.
Henry served in the U.S. Army, but spent the majority of his career as a contract employee of the CIA and federal government. He served in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Henry, with the aid of Air America and local Hmong troops, conducted interdiction raids on the Ho Chi Minh trail, as well as other clandestine operations. He went on to serve assignments in Africa and the Middle East during hostilities in those regions. He was sent to Afghanistan to train the Mujahadeen during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. He worked at the Yuma Proving Grounds, developing surveillance technology, and worked on several space missions for NASA at Cape Canaveral.
At the age of 70 he was contacted by the CIA for a clandestine operation in Afghanistan during Desert Storm. He was extremely upset that he was unable to physically assist. When Henry reached U.S. Government mandatory retirement age, he went to work as a civilian boating officer for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for 12 seasons on the Colorado River and Lake Havasu.
Henry was well cared for in his final days by his friends and longtime girlfriend, Sharon Young, while his friends and family stopped by to share old stories.
The bombs of WWII couldn’t kill Henry, the Viet Cong and NVA couldn’t kill him, the jungles of Southeast Asia and Africa couldn’t kill him, and the Russians in Afghanistan couldn’t kill him, but nobody can escape the ravages of time. He said he lived a good life, did things he couldn’t believe he survived, saw more places and made more friends than most people, and that he was ready to see what awaits him on the other side.
Godspeed my friend, you will be missed. The world is a lesser place without you.