Mary Virgilia Gunn, a native Californian and longtime resident of Livermore, passed away peacefully on Oct. 5, at the age of 85.
Mary was born in San Francisco, California, and lived in Sebastopol until her early teens, when the family moved to Oakland. She was an honor student and yell leader at Oakland High School, where she graduated in 1953. Mary was a member of the A Capella Choir, and received “Friendly” and “Class Spirit” nods from her fellow classmates. She was welcomed to the school’s exclusive “Acorn Council” for her outstanding activity record.
Mary was a member of the Foothill Baptist Church and met her future husband, Ron, at a Bay Area Christian youth event. They married on June 1, 1956.
By 1962, their family of six was settled in Livermore, where Ron worked as an engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). During this time, Mary raised her children and was active in the Marylin Avenue School PTA. She also served as a Girl Scout troop leader and spent many weekends hiking and camping at Sycamore Grove Park.
In the late ‘60s, Mary continued her love of singing by joining the Livermore Barbaree Chapter of Sweet Adelines, Inc. The award-winning chorus shared the American folk art of singing four-part harmony, barbershop style. Mary served as publicity chairman and assistant director and was named 1972 Sweet Adeline of the Year by her fellow Barbarees.
In 1973, Mary was hired as a telephone operator at LLNL. Her bubbly personality caught the attention of several key players who offered guidance and mentorship. Eventually, she landed her dream job as senior technical coordinator for Laser Facilities. She repaid this kindness by mentoring others who followed in her footsteps. Upon retirement from LLNL, Mary and Ron traveled extensively with American Stage Tours. Alaska, Hawaii, Catalina Island, and Yosemite National Park were among their favorite destinations. Mary holds the record for the tour company’s longest-riding passenger.
An active supporter of the community, Mary was a longtime member of the Livermore-Pleasanton Elks (Lodge #2117). She was skilled at bowling and served as league secretary at Granada Bowl, assisting her husband, who developed one of the first computer scoring programs. Mary and Ron amassed an impressive collection of bowling trophies and made lifelong friends.
Mary enjoyed sports, and was an avid fan of the Bay Area teams (A’s, Giants, 49ers, and Raiders). She particularly loved NASCAR, and spent many weekends camping with her family at Sears Point Raceway in the southern Sonoma Mountains, creating lasting memories for her grandchildren.
A friend introduced Mary to the Red Hat Society, and she soon became Queen of a local chapter, the Razzberry Rubies. She enjoyed meeting friends for lunch in the Tri-Valley area and devoted an entire bedroom to her large collection of red and purple wardrobe items, including sequined scarves and flamboyant, feathered hats.
Mary leaves behind two sisters, Rev. Pat King and Eleanor Davis; her children, Kim Giancaterino (Warren), Karen Gunn, Kelly Gunn, and Kevin Gunn; eight grandchildren, LaDawnna, Loriann, Rhiannon, Robert, Jodi, Joseph, Kevin, and Ari; seven great-grandchildren; and many extended family members and friends. She was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, Ronald Gunn; beloved parents, Edward and Virgilia (Bassett) King; brother, Edward King; grandson, Robert Gunn; and great-grandsons, Antony Burdick and David Gilbert.
Family would like to acknowledge the delicate care and counsel received from Hope Hospice (Veronica, Fria, Diane, Sarah), and Mary’s compassionate caregiver team (Emily, Amy, Janet, Donny).
We feel truly blessed to have had this loving presence in our lives. “Mimi” will be forever missed.
In accordance with Mary’s wishes, the family will not hold a service at this time. Those who wish to remember her may contribute to their favorite charity, or Dogs for Better Lives at 10175 Wheeler Road, Central Point, OR 97502 (1-800-990-3647).
Callaghan Mortuary is honored to be serving the Gunn family. An online guestbook is available for condolences at www.callaghanmortuary.com.