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Former Stratford Sen. George ‘Doc’ Gunther Dies at 92

He was the longest-serving state legislator in Connecticut history.

Former state Sen. George “Doc” Gunther died on Sunday morning from cancer. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut Air & Space Center, which Gunther founded, paid homage to the man who represented Shelton, Stratford, Monroe and Seymour for 40 years.

"Doc Gunther served the citizens of Stratford and the state with an unwavering passion and commitment to public service.,” Malloy said. "Even if you didn't agree with him, Senator Gunther was an independent thinker respected by his colleagues and constituents for fighting to protect our environment and preserve open space. His advocacy and service to our state will be remembered and will continue to benefit future generations.”

Gunther served in the legislature from 1966 to 2006 – – and took a special interest in environmental issues and aviation while representing the 21st district. The Connecticut Air & Space Center in Stratford praised the former senator in a statement.

Doc Gunther was responsible for the F4U Chance Vought US Navy Fighter of World War 2 becoming Connecticut’s State Airplane as well as championing the removal of the Corsair from its perch at the Sikorsky Memorial Airport for restoration. 

Senator George Gunther had one of the longest and strongest reputations for environmentalism in the Connecticut legislature, stemming back to when the movement was known as conservation. While still on the Stratford Town Council, he sponsored the establishment of the first municipal conservation commission in Connecticut; then in his freshman year as state senator, he co-authored the first law to regulate and restrict activities allowed in tidal wetlands. He has been recognized many times by environmentalist and conservation groups for his opposition to pollution and his work to preserve the environment for hunters, fishermen, and the shell fishing industry.

Patricia Pell August 26, 2012 at 10:21 PM
The world is dimmer with the loss of "Doc". He will be missed by many.
Mary Jane T J Connell August 27, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Doc Gunther was a fighter for the Town of Stratford, no matter what the cause was. He will be greatly missed. I hope there will be some one honest to follow in his foot steps, but they will be hard to fill. God Bless you Doc, you will be missed greatly. Love & Prayers go out to your family.
Neil Sherman August 27, 2012 at 01:47 PM
I had the great , good fortune of working with the feisty big-hearted Doc Gunther for all the years I led the Stratford Chamber. What a champion he was! For those of us who worked (and argued) with him, you always knew his love for Stratford -- not power or political games, just Stratford . We'll all miss him.
Charlie Brown August 27, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Doc was an honest, down-to-earth, principled, reliable, selfless, champion for Stratford. He told where he stood and didn't waver; a no-nonsense leader of men, from an era when that meant something. Even political opponents couldn't help liking and respecting him. I look forward to seeing a public school, park, building, and bridge named in his honor.
Jason Bagley (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Comments from the current state senator for the 21st District, Kevin Kelly: “Senator ‘Doc’ Gunther was a tireless advocate for our District, the environment, Long Island Sound, Connecticut sportsmen and middle class families in Stratford, Shelton and the lower Naugatuck Valley. Senator Gunther’s service to our District, the State Senate and the State of Connecticut will be long remembered. “Senator Gunther’s efforts to name the Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopter and the Chance Vought F4U Corsair, both manufactured in the 21st District, as our official state aircraft recognized the international reputation of our District as a center of skilled workers, high-technology and innovative aviation products. “I wish to thank Senator ‘Doc’ Gunther for his historic service to Connecticut and also thank the Gunther family for the sacrifices they made to share ‘Doc’ with our State.”
Jason Bagley (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Stratford Mayor John A. Harkins: "Doc Gunther was one of the hardest-working public servants I ever came across in the entire State of Connecticut. His broad knowledge on many issues always made him an interesting person to talk to and work with. He will be sadly missed by many throughout the region."

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