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.