Former Knights leader Bill Gunter dies at 83 

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William George “Bill” Gunter

William George “Bill” Gunter, the former State Deputy of the Tennessee Knights of Columbus and a long-time parishioner at St. Stephen Catholic Community in Old Hickory, died on Monday, April 4, 2022. He was 83. 

“He had the biggest heart of anybody I knew,” said Michael Porter, a close friend and fellow Past State Deputy of the Tennessee Knights. “He genuinely cared about anybody he came into contact with. He was always willing to help, he was always there as a friend. He was a really good listener. He was the very best mentor I ever had.” 

“Bill was many things to all of us, friend, mentor, brother Knight, and more,” said current State Deputy Fred Laufenberg. “We all loved him, and we will miss him.” 

Visitation will be 3-6 p.m. Monday, April 11, at St. Stephen, with a rosary, led by Deacon Fred Bourland, at 6 p.m. There also will be visitation 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, April 12, at St. Stephen. 

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 12, by Father Davis Chackaleckel, MSFS, pastor of St. Stephen, with Deacon Steve Molnar delivering the homily and eulogy.  

Mr. Gunter was born in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, and was the son of the late Max and Mary Baranchak Gunter. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he went to work for Allegheny Airlines, which later became U.S. Airways. He and his family moved to Nashville in the late 1960s while working for the airline, and he retired from U.S. Airways as a gate supervisor. 

Mr. Gunter was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 4972 in Donelson and later was a charter member of Council 9282 when it was established at St. Stephen in 1986. 

He held many offices in the Knights, including Grand Knight of Council 9282, Faithful Navigator of Fourth Degree Assembly 1627, District Deputy, and District Master for the Fourth Degree in Tennessee. He served as State Warden, State Advocate and State Secretary of the Tennessee Knights of Columbus before ultimately ascending to the position of State Deputy from 2002-04. 

“Bill and I had a lot of conversations about the Knights and what it meant to both of us,” Porter said. “He said the Knights made him a better Catholic, a better father, a better husband, a better grandfather. The Knights helped him focus on his faith and to do the right things for the right reasons all the time. 

“When he was State Deputy, he didn’t want to take any shortcuts,” Porter said. “His whole focus was on our faith and helping men use their God-given gifts to serve God through their membership in the Knights of Columbus.” 

Porter, also a parishioner at St. Stephen, followed him as the Grand Knight of Council 9282, as District Deputy, as State Deputy and as Fourth Degree District Master for Tennessee. 

“He’s the kind of guy you want as your father,” Porter said of Mr. Gunter. “He was the kind of guy you want as your brother. He was the kind of guy you want as your father-in-law. He was the kind of guy you want as your next-door neighbor. He was the kind of guy you want to be around all the time.” 

Mr. Gunter is survived by his wife of 58 years, Joan Gunter; his son Billy (Donna) Gunter; his daughter Terri (Todd) King; his brother, Bob (Gale) Gunter; grandchildren Jessica (Marc) Seng, Ashley King, Eric Gunter and Emily Gunter; and great-grandchildren Braxton King, Ayden King and Natalie Seng. 

Memorial contributions can be made to St. Stephen Catholic Community or the Ladies of Charity. 

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Bond Memorial Chapel in Mt. Juliet. 

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