April 18, 1947 - June 29, 2020
Born in Odenton, Maryland
Resided in Salinas, California
Joe was born April 18, 1947 in Odenton, Maryland. His father was in the Army, and they traveled the country from base to base until he landed in Fort Ord. He attended local high schools and graduated from Junípero Serra High School. After high school, Joe proudly joined the Marines and served for 4 years during the Vietnam War. He was a proud Marine and always wore his Marine service pin on his jacket or the cap on his head.
Joe joined on with the Salinas Police Department within 5 days of his return from Camp Pendleton. He served 6 years as a patrol officer. He then was promoted to detective for 26 straight years. Joe’s designation was “David 1” for the 26 years he was a detective meaning he was the senior most detective on the force. He also served as Police Academy and Driving Instructor. Joe served the Salinas PD for 32 years. He retired in 2002. Joe had a short-lived retirement going back to work the next day as a Reserve Officer for the Salinas Police Department conducting background investigations until 2012. His restless attitude as a community leader continued as he went on to become Mayor of the city he loved so much. He served as Mayor for 8 consecutive years in Salinas heading projects such as the new Salinas Police Department, new Youth Alisal Sports Fields, homeless housing, the Veteran’s Day Parade, the California Central Coast Veteran’s Cemetery at Fort Ord and much more. Throughout the years, Joe participated in many other organizations. He served as the President, Board member and coach of the Bobby Sox Softball League, the Director of Security of the California Rodeo, the President of the Board and volunteer of the Salinas Women’s Crisis Center, Board member and Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of Central Coast Credit Union, Tappin’ Dads founding member, the President and Director of security of the California International Airshow, and more. He loved the community and the city of Salinas. He dedicated over 50 years of service to his country, community, and the people.
Among many of Joe’s passions beyond family was barbecuing. He even had advertising for his own barbecue service. His world-famous chili bean recipe won at several cook-offs.
He is preceded in death by his father Roy Gunter and his mother Melva Gunter.
Joe is survived by his wife, Lisa Eisemann Gunter, his children Jodi (Ed) Bennett, Dana (Scotty) Fogle, David Gunter, Terrin (Justin Lemmon) Eisemann-Gunter, his grandchildren Jonathan Bennett, Matthew Bennett, Scotty Fogle, Skyler Fogle, Joey Fogle, Abigail Gunter, Evan Gunter, his siblings Sandra (George) Coe, Robert (Barbara) Gunter, Michael Gunter, and Mary (Roger) Fiest.
Visitation will be held 12:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. Saturday, July 11, 2020 at Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis Street, Salinas, CA. 93901.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Mayor Joe Gunter Memorial Fund for the Veteran’s Day Parade at:
or at: Mayor Joe Gunter Memorial Fund for the Veteran’s Day Parade
2354 Garden Road, Monterey, CA 93940.
Private memorial services will be held at California Central Coast Veteran’s Cemetery
Celebration of life precessions will be determined at a later date.
Salinas, California 93901
Monterey, California United States 93940