Our Friend George Gunning
by Brian Coll
Our friend George Gunning. OUR FRIEND. No matter what, George Gunning has had his fingerprints on your life if you live in our community. George was part of the fabric that helped build the community we know and love today. It seems like for 50+ years George was working on some community project. If you own a house in Conshohocken George probably helped someone, maybe even you buy that house at some point. George worked in banking, and he was a friendly face to many young people looking to buy a house in our community.
I got to talk to George recently and nothing in his voice gave away the fact that it would be my last time talking to him. We as a community were lucky to have him here and my family and I were lucky we could call him our friend. My dad answered the phone at the shop around 15 years ago one day and it was George on the other end. George started telling my dad about how there was an opening on the board at the Conshohocken Free Library. Now my dad, he was on the Board at the Fellowship House at the time as well as a number of other things and he was starting to wonder if George was about to offer him a position at the Library. My dad has never read a book in his life and he is thinking to himself…..I’m not sure if I’m the right guy for the job. So, they are chatting for a few minutes and George never asks my dad Jack about the Board position at the Library. As my dad thinks the conversation is over, George says, you know Jack, we got this position on the Board at the Library, and I think your son Brian would be an excellent addition to the Board. He has worked on the Funfest and we see him doing good things in the community and we think he’d do a good job with the Library. I talked to George that day and I didn’t have as much faith in myself that George had. Now, many years later I am President of the Library and I think of our friend George often.
George had a way of making sure you were in the conversation. Even my recent chat with him, he kept asking about my family, he kept asking about Conshohocken. His mind was always working. He always had the community in his heart and he worked tirelessly for our community. I can go on and on. I’m sure other people out there can go on and on about George. There is a generation of business people out there today who will miss the phone calls from George when a project in the community needed some financial help. He had a way of knowing what you were passionate about, he knew what projects could use a little extra help.
George, thank you. Our family is thinking of your family. You left a positive mark on our community and your legacy will live on forever.
Here is the official Obituary:
George E. Gunning Jr., age 89 of Plymouth Meeting, died on July 8, 2019. He was born in Philadelphia on September 3, 1929 son of the late George E. Sr. and Sarah (Campbell) Gunning. He was the beloved husband of the late Dorothy E. (Clark) Gunning and the current husband of “Q”.
George graduated Conshohocken High School Class of 1948; where he was class President, President of the Student Council, and a member of the National Honor Society. He graduated from Temple University Evening School of Business Administration in 1957 completing all courses given by Pennsylvania Savings and Loan League. He became licensed as a Real Estate Salesperson in 1979.
George was employed by: Conshohocken Federal Savings and Loan Association retiring in 1977 as President of the Association; served as Vice President and later President of Bridgeport Savings and Loan Association, where he served as a consultant to develop new business and expand the branch system and developed the merger between Bridgeport Savings and Loan and Norris Savings and Loan which created Progress Bank. He served as Vice President of Progress Bank and continued his tenure through to Fleet Bank and onto Bank of America. He served as Vice President of Business Development with continuation as President of the Continental Bank Foundation.
In terms of his community involvement: he was Founder and President of Gateway Employment Training Resources; Board Member and Treasurer of Conshohocken Free Library; Montgomery County Citizen’s Advisory Council Board Member; President of Conshohocken Chamber of Commerce; Board Member of Conshohocken SPCA; Poor Richard’s Club Board Member; member of Colonial School Authority; member and participant of the Fundraising Committee for the Fellowship House of Conshohocken; member and Fundraising Committee of Conshohocken Veterans Memorial; Chairman of Legislative Committee; established Giongo Family Fund at Continental Bank to help the children of a family that tragically lost their mother; instrumental in the acquisition of land and the erection of Plymouth Fire Company; Chairman of the Pennsylvania Savings and Loan League, where he worked alongside the Chairman of the Banking Committee to change the Usury Act of 1850, which restricted lenders to a 6% rate on mortgages.
In terms of honors, awards and achievements: life member of Conshohocken Fire Co. #2; guest speaker on the topic of Military Weapons and Antiques; guest speaker for Philadelphia School of Textile and Sciences; Annual Auctioneer for Conshohocken Art League; recipient of the 1966 Daniel S. Whiteman Award for Outstanding Civic Achievement; received 2 awards for service and civic achievement by the Greater Conshohocken Chamber of Commerce; awarded the Consolidated Chambers of Commerce Award in 1996 for Humanitarian Service to the Community; received an award from Gateway Employment Training Resources for dedicated service in the field of Handicapped Employment; Honorary Italian Award from Christopher Colombus Club; Norristown Times Herald Recognition of Outstanding Business Community Members; Montgomery Grand Jury Award for appreciation and service to the office of the District Attorney; obtained $230,00 from Governor of Pennsylvania and the Secretary of Highways to improve traffic flow in Conshohocken; award for the opening of Colwell Lane in Conshohocken from 6th Avenue to Elm Street; award for the erection of the Plymouth Twp. Service and Devotion Monument.
George is survived by: 2 sons, George E. Gunning III and Michael G. Gunning; 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren; a sister, Helene Meszaros (Robert). He was preceded in death by his son, John C. Gunning Sr.
Relatives and friends may pay respects on Friday morning, July 12th, from 9:30-10:45am at Epiphany of Our Lord Church, 3050 Walton Rd, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462. Mass will commence in the church at 11am. Internment, Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken. Professional arrangements are by the William A. Moore Funeral Home, 708 Fayette St., Conshohocken.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Plymouth Township Municipal Building c/o Karen Frank (Parks & Recreation), 700 Belvoir Rd., Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462.