Michael was born in Waverly, Kansas to Roland Edward “Pete” Gunn and Laura Lorraine (Littrell) Gunn on January 7, 1945. In the wake of the Second World War, his family moved to a small country home near Great Bend, Kansas where he and his brother were raised. The children of a school teacher and school administrator, they led a quiet, middle class life centered around the Presbyterian Church and their home. Michael was an outstanding high school athlete, lettering in football where he was an all-conference tackle, basketball where he was the center and the biggest kid and best athlete on the floor, and track and field where he threw the shot and discus. He held the Great Bend high school discus record for many years and placed second in the state track meet his senior year. He received a track scholarship to Kansas State University, was a proud member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and majored in business and accounting, graduating in 1967.
His professional career started as a staff accountant with Arthur Andersen & Co., while also pursuing his law degree from University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, where he graduated in 1972. In 1975, he established his own law practice, which was to eventually become Gunn, Shank and Stover, in the Kansas City Northland. Michael was also involved in a number of real estate developments and took great pleasure in bringing them to fruition. He moved to Weatherby Lake in the 70s and while living there met the love of his life, Janice Lockhart. They fell deeply in love, married and eventually built their dream home on Weatherby Lake where they raised their three daughters– Jess McDowell, Ingle Holbrook and Whitaker Lundy. Michael was immensely proud of each of the girls’ accomplishments and enjoyed spending time at their sporting events and activities.
Michael’s life was marked by love of his family, loyalty, strong beliefs and great generosity. His home life centered around friends and activities at Weatherby Lake. He enjoyed sailing, landscaping, and coaching the girls’ sport teams. He and Jan loved to travel, and they spent many winter weeks in the Caribbean and various Central American destinations, with Belize being a favorite. They always returned to their home happy, refreshed, and deeply tanned. Michael loved sports and followed Kansas State closely, but he was above all a serious baseball fan and loved the Royals – regardless of their success. He had an encyclopedic memory for baseball statistics and trivia, and you could hardly mention the name of a town with being queried about “what famous third baseman was from” there. His incredible memory for numbers carried over to phone numbers and he seldom relied on contact lists on his phone, always pecking them out from memory. He and his brother also hunted widely from the Midwest to Wyoming, Canada and southern Africa, and more recently traveled to historical sites across the country. His library was bedecked with trophies, a testimony to his success afield. He held strong political opinions, and was a lifelong Republican and consistent donor.
Michael was very involved in his grandchildrens’ lives: camping, swimming at the pool, watching them play sports and traveling. Additionally, he was deeply engaged in local development, serving on city and county planning and development committees. He was instrumental in developing the Parma Park gun range west of Parkville and the Michael Gunn Park in Platte County, where development has recently begun.
He was preceded in death by his wife Jan and his parents. He is survived by his children and grandchildren: Jess Gunn of Omaha, NE; Ingle Lopata, her husband Eric and their three children, Creighton, Jane and Berkley of Weatherby Lake, MO; Whitaker Jackson, her husband Kevin and their two children, Avery and Brodie of Parkville, MO; as well as his brother – Richard Gunn (“Uncle Bob”), his wife Sally and their children, Andrew and Sarah of Norman, OK; as well as a host of very dear, long-time friends.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at Parkville Presbyterian Church, 819 Main Street Parkville, MO. The Funeral service will immediately follow at 2:00 p.m. Private burial.
Those who wish to honor Michael’s contribution to the community are invited to donate to the development of Michael Gunn Park. Checks may be written to Platte County, with “Michael Gunn Park” noted in the memo. Memories of Michael and condolences to the family may be shared at meyersfuneralchapel.com.