Ronald Lee Gundry
Aug. 18, 1935 – Dec. 9, 2020
On December 9th 2020, 85 year old United States Air Force Veteran and American Football League Alumnus, Ronald Lee Gundry, passed away peacefully in his Virginia home surrounded by multiple family members and his loving wife Patricia after a short battle with cancer. Ronald leaves behind a tremendous legacy defined by the thousands of lives he has positively influenced during his more than 50 year career as an educator, administrator, and Coach.
Born on August 18, 1935 in Pennsylvania, his life’s work was dedicated to leading student athletes towards success in both sports and life. Ronald led multiple championship football and track teams (Men’s and Women’s programs) in Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia. Dozens of individuals under his tutelage went on to become Collegiate Champions as well as professional athletes in various sports, including the National Football League, and many have also been enshrined in various Halls of Fame. Even more significant are the thousands of young Men and Women who were led towards a College Education as a direct result of Ron’s love & commitment to them. Many of these individuals have publicly expressed their appreciation for Ron in various dedications over the years, some forever memorialized in books written by those he influenced.
One of the proudest moments of his storied life when Ronald Gundry was a scarcely known, and never officially recognized, became a pioneer of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. In 1966 Coach Bennie Moore (a brave trailblazer in his own right) and Coach Gundry organized a secret relay meet between two segregated Florida State Champion high school teams, Miami Northwestern & Coral Park. This historical meet was run at night and reportedly attended by more than a 1,000 people, yet is hardly known to anyone who was not present at the competition. When Coach Gundry was presented with Coach of the Year honors in 1966, no one applauded and he was nearly fired as a result of his role in organizing the event.
In addition to his coaching accomplishments, Ron earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Miami, and a Master’s Degree at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and was himself a tremendous athlete. He held various New Jersey High School State records in track, and he played football for the University of Miami after serving 4 years in the US Airforce. For a few years he even played for various AFL teams before the AFL merged with the NFL. Ronald had coached various NFL player developmental camps throughout the years.
As for his personal life, he was a dedicated Father and Husband who managed to find as much time for his family as he did for others, especially in the last years of his life. Ron was an avid golfer who would always be up for a glass of Scotch along with a fine Cigar while listening to his favorite songs from The Steve Miller Band.
Ronald was preceded in death by his Daughter Ronda; parents Dorothy and John; and sister Linda. He is survived by his Wife Patricia; his brothers Gerald and John; his Children Jeff, Jon, Gina, Craig and Devon; seven grandchildren; six great grandchildren, and all the student athletes he remained close to, well beyond the years he was their Coach.
A Memorial Service will be held for Ronald Gundry 09 January 2021 at the Church of the Epiphany in Chesterfield, VA, followed by a celebration of his life All are welcome to join in person or via live internet broadcast. If you wish to obtain the link or participate in any way, please contact Craig Gundry at [email protected] or via mobile phone 954-955-0079 for further information (text messages are preferred). https://www.facebook.com/ChurchoftheEpiphany/live/
Coach I love you as I’ve always told you. I already miss my phone calls. Having to pull over on the side of the road to listen, because I knew we were going to talk a bit. Thank you for saving my life and many others. What a great example of what a true human being should be.
Ron- meeting you was blessing in my life. Always enjoyed our sports time together especially golfing. RIP my dear friend. I’ll always love you. Joe Carter
Coach, words cannot express how much you have meant to me and the countless lives you have touched as a coach, educator, mentor and friend. I feel truly blessed to have known you and so fortunate for your advice and friendship for nearly forty years. As Jackie Robinson said “ your life is not important except in the impact you have had on other lives”. The impact you have had on me , and because of that , on my family, could never be forgotten. Love you Coach.
My coach, mentor, and father figure. It was a joy playing for you and it was an honor to use the lessons you taught me in life to the kids I have coached. I already miss you and can still hear you telling me I can do it. Love you coach
Such touching words for a special neighbor and friend from the past in Texas. What a legacy. You will be missed but lived your life with no regrets. Rest In Peace Ron.
Coach Gundry, Rest In Peace — that peace that you provided to many of us along your journey. I distinctly remember the calm and focus that you had created while you entered the room. Blessed to have played for you and blessed to have been a part of your journey. Eagles and Falcons fly… God Bless,
Coach Gundry was such an amazing guy and positive influence in my life. He coached me from 71-75 at Saddle Brook High School. He was so dedicated and put such an amazing amount of time into the sport . He was a magnificent force and will always power vivid memories in me.
You left an indelible mark on my life. Calls from you always caused me to stop whatever I was doing . You motivated and mentored me (steering me toward the Merchant Marine Academy) through the application process for military school.
Never have I seen you angry at anything but injustice. Your genuine concern for my life and family was humbling.
Thank you for showing me a great example of what a husband, father, and teacher should be.
God bless you, Coach
Coach Gundry was a dedicated wonderful man. He supported his athletes, even made a home visit with my parents when they were going to pull me off the track team due to grades. He straightened me out and provided me with the athletic training and educational support, to help set me on the right path. Through his efforts I earned a scholarship to attend college and help set me up for success in the future. There are so many stories I could tell, many would make you laugh! Rest In Peace Ron, you led a storied, wonderful life that will not be forgotten.
I didn’t know Ron personally but I wish I had. It’s clear what a mark this man left in this life. Its obvious how beloved he was by those he taught and by his own family. If we could all do that, think how much better a world this could be. Well done, rest in peace.
Coach Gundry was the coolest guy. My goal in HS was to be a Gym teacher and coach because of him. Always a calm presence. great teacher and motivator. RIP Coach..and Thanks
Coach Gundry was my favorite high school coach and teacher, always calm under pressure, thoughtful and a great teacher. He seemed to know more about than I did about myself. Unlike other coaches and teachers, he seemed more like a friend than anything else. His influence on me remains constant, almost 50 years later. May you RIP Coach.
Coach Gundry was my favorite high school coach and teacher, always calm under pressure, thoughtful and a great teacher. He seemed to know more about me than I did about myself. Unlike other coaches and teachers, he seemed more like a friend than anything else. His influence on me remains constant, almost 50 years later. May you RIP Coach.
Coach was probably one of the influential people I’ve ever met. He was always completely honest with me and would never miss a moment on chewing my tail out. I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me. Rest easy Coach. Love you forever any always
Coach Gundry, Words cannot express how thankful I am
to have had you as an amazing Indoor and Outdoor Track Coach
at Saddle Brook High School (Class of 1979). You were
a coach, mentor, friend and father figure. You were a kind
hearted Coach, always calm under pressure. We had
winning teams because of your expertise. What you taught
me inspired me to run in college and later to be inducted
into The Athletic Hall of Fame at Montclair State University in 1995.
Thanks for being such a blessing in my life and so many
peoples lives! May you Rest In Peace.
With Sincerity and Love, Sharon Kearns Wejsa
Coach Gundry thank you for everything that you taught us on the football field and off the football field, you’ve turned boys into men and girls into women, you’ve shaped a lot of lives especially me, I’m where I’m at in life based on the words and deeds you displayed and now I’m trying to follow in your footsteps the things you taught me and everyone else who have crossed your path, thank you for being a mentor a father figure a great Coach and a great friend, I love you and miss you and your legacy will never be forgotten, once again I humbly thank you for everything.
Wow! Sorry for Coach Gundry’s passing. Ran track for him in 1969 when we won a high school indoor state title. Always classy. He made us work hard and motivated us to do our best. Remember him having a sort of dry sense of humor that kept us loose. May God bless. Thank you coach for helping me become the person I am today, forever grateful.