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Gary E. Gunville

June 21, 1960 - July 10, 2020

Gary E. GunvilleIt is with deep sorrow, we announce the passing of Gary Edward Gunville, a loving and devoted husband, father and friend to those lives he touched.  Gary, who’d just recently celebrated his 60th birthday, died very suddenly on July 10, 2020, from an undiagnosed cardiac episode, at his Salem, OR home.
 Born 1960, in Harlem, MT to Myrtle and Edward Gunville, he is survived by his mother, his wife of 34 years, Katherine Ellen Gunville and his daughter, Claire Anne Gunville.  He also precedes in death several brothers/sisters-in-law, George and Kerin Kirkmire of Olympia, WA, Dan and Erin Kirkmire of Twisp, WA, Alice and Russ Tuck of Phoenix, AZ, and Theresa and Mike Dalziel of Las Vegas, NV.
 The son of a mason, who traveled for his occupation, Gary grew up spending his childhood in many places, including Las Vegas, Alaska, North Dakota, Colorado and Montana, where his family ultimately settled. He had many talents, and before pursuing studies at Montana State University’s School of Architecture in Bozeman, he was also a licensed airplane mechanic.  Prior to getting his Master’s in Architecture in 1986, one evening, while playing a random game of pool in a popular Bozeman watering hole, Gary met the love of his life, Katy, who was also attending Montana State at the time.  They married about a year later in December, 1985 and after graduating the following spring, they then took up residence in Seattle, WA, where he began his profession as a Project Manager for retail, office and industrial projects in WA with MulvannyG2 Architecture. Over the years, he had a variety of positions in WA, OR and CA, in different capacities, with various architectural firms and the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs. His most proud accomplishment though, was starting his own firm, Studio G Architecture in Bend, OR, where from 2005-2010, he provided services for custom residential, commercial and industrial projects in OR and WA. Gary was also a certified member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
 A handsome man of Native American heritage, Gary lived with purpose and intention, and is remembered by those who loved him as kind, patient, very intelligent, sensitive, creative and humorous.  He liked to laugh and joke, preferred a good IPA and enjoyed spending treasured time with his brothers-in-law and Katy’s large family. He had a passion for learning, reading and listening to his favorite music, which included the Beatles and classic 70’s and 80’s artists. He and his daughter Claire shared natural artistic gifts and loved to talk about different art mediums and collaborate on different art projects.
He and Katy were largely inseparable and he appreciated life and sharing everyday adventures with his family, traveling, going on weekend drives, working on their various homes and landscaping them together.  They cultivated a shared love of design, and repurposing found items - enthusiastic about “finding unusual ways to use usual things”.  Katy describes him as her best friend since their first meeting and said, “I just loved the hell out of him”…and he, her.
During these times of Covid, since no formal service can be held at this time and we cannot celebrate this amazing life and individual, you are invited to share your thoughts and stories with his family via email at 


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My deepest condolences to you, KatyLady. 
Gary is an amazing person! His passing leaves a huge hole in the world, but that is evidence of someone who lived a meaningful life with a beautiful legacy, and a testament to the breadth and depth of the amazing love you share.
This is painful. I know you miss him dearly and how you cherish the wonderful memories of your 35+ year romance and best-friendship. You have many friends/family who love you and want to support you -- lean on us. 
You are always in my prayers. God bless you, I love you. X O X O X

Katy and family,
Sincere condolences to you and your family. Gary was a great guy. I worked with him at Steele Associates. He was always so nice and kind to me. He was such a wonderful, gentle soul. Even though he has moved on he will always remain with you. Wishing you peace in the days ahead. 

Katy and Claire- Know that Kerin and I pray daily for Gary and miss him tremendously, as you both do.  We feel so fortunate to have been able to celebrate his birthday with him and spend time at the coast, too.  Our hearts are certainly heavy with this, but we remember the many good times we all had together and celebrate his memory.  To me, Gary was more than just a BIL, he was truly my brother and I loved him like one.  He was always so patient with our family and was always really interested in what we were doing in our lives. I'll always remember the last time we were together and we went through his family album, which I had never seen before, and he revealed a part of himself to me I had never known about.  He was truly an amazing person who left a tremendous legacy.  Love to you and Claire.

     Hello; I am Gary's sister Karen. Although I have been estranged from the family for decades now, God let me know that Gary had passed on when I was praying for him and his family recently, and led me to this obituary. It saddens me to learn of his death, and I am sorry that we could not have had a relationship away from the influence of our mother; I would have liked that. I am glad to hear, though, that he achieved his dreams, and had such a loving family. I only met the Kirkmires a few times, but I remember them with fondness. My condolences to Katy and Claire, and may God bless them and keep them.
     Karen M. Nichols
     Las Vegas, NV

Gary was a very special man.

Met him in August 2019 with his colleague, Alan Costic, president, AC + Co Architecture, in Salem, as we discussed a possible project.

Gary was quiet, thoughtful, asked good questions, and listened.

About a week later, he met a small group to view the property and discuss the vision, mission, and goals for the possible project.  He walked, took notes, snapped pictures, talked with the group members, and shared several concepts.

Within two days, we had several conceptual drawings.  Gary was so talented, creative, and put his heart and soul into this endeavor for many reasons, including that we'd proposed working closely with one of the Confederated Tribes in Oregon.   We intended to honor their legacy throughout the process of creation, collaboration, and execution.

The project was tabled due to different factors, especially the potential partners or sponsors who were mid-year with other priorities.  And then Covid-19 Pandemic spread around the world, including communities, families, and individuals in our beautiful state.  It's sad idle waiting for a better time.

That time is rapidly approaching.  I reached out to Alan two days ago and discussed the possibility the timing was right and we might pursue it again.  Sent a message to Gary on LinkedIn this morning and copied Alan.  Sent a separate email to Alan, too.

Alan responded by writing and sharing the sad news that Gary passed away last summer.

What a shock and a loss, although he's smiling and enjoying life with his family members, friends, and others in the Native American Spirit World.  It's their gain and he's happy.

My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.  May you eventually cherish eternity with him in the afterlife.