In the last few weeks two people who have had an important impact on my life passed away—Mike Russell and Gurnie Gunter.
Mike Russell was the co-founder of the Kansas City Business Journal. For almost six years I had the privilege of working for this newspaper. Mike was an entrepreneur and loved life in the fast lane. He was always looking for the next business deal. He loved start ups and especially liked to take on projects that someone said could not be done. It was the challenge to do something spectacular which drove him, but that was not what endeared him to those of us fortunate enough to work with him. No matter how busy he was, he always had time for what was most important to him – his friends and family, especially his beautiful wife Carol.
Gurnie Gunter was a founding HCF board member and our second board chair. Gurnie was a strong leader who was firm, fair and direct. He was a quiet man who did not speak much. But when he did – people listened because his comments were always meaningful. Gurnie was a tall man with a big smile and a very firm handshake. He was a religious man and lead by example. His many years of military experienced caused him to be organized, disciplined and to respect the chain of command. He was always prepared for meetings and followed the agenda with precision. He valued community service and was devoted to his wife Margaret for over 55 years.
These two men had different personalities and work habits. Both men had a great sense of humor and were not afraid show emotion. Both were decision makers and had the ability to inspire and challenge people to do their very best. They treated others the way they wanted to be treated. I am so fortunate that my path through life included the opportunity to work alongside these two outstanding individuals.
Mike and Gurnie — rest in peace! You will be missed.