Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter Dies at 73
The City of Salinas is mourning the sudden passing of its mayor Joe Gunter. He was 73 years old.
Gunter passed away on June 29 from an infection. He was having surgery for a heart issue, during which they also discovered esophageal cancer.
Gunter was a Vietnam War veteran who served as a police officer and homicide detective for 32 years before being elected mayor in 2012.
“You could say that he was the common person that was the mayor. People automatically connected with him he had that kind of rapport, that kind of connection,” City Manager Ray Corpuz told KSBW. “He’d treat you like you were one of the most important people in the world he’d joke with you and then pretty soon he’d take whatever problem you had and all of a sudden things would start happening he’d start focusing on that particular issue.”
Gunter volunteered for numerous organizations in his spare time, including the California Rodeo, Tappin' Dads, and the California International Air Show. He served as president of the board for the Salinas Women's Crisis Center and president/coach of Bobby Sox Softball.
“Mayor Gunter loved all of Salinas,” said County Supervisor Luis Alejo (Monterey County Weekly). “He made a point to be everywhere from the East Side to the South, and everywhere in between. Without him, we couldn't get the big projects like the homeless shelter, soccer complex or new police station accomplished. We have lost a tremendous public servant who cared about helping the most vulnerable in our community."
Gunter is survived by his wife Lisa Eisemann, their children, and grandchildren.
Read more about Gunter’s passing and reactions from friends and colleagues from The Californian.