Russell Allen Gunter
Published: February 12, 2013
Russell Allen Gunter, 62, of Little Rock, died February 9th, 2013 just hours before his daughter's wedding thereby securing the best view in the church. He was born on February 21st, 1950 in Amarillo, Texas to John Allen "Buster" Gunter and Shirley Ann Russell Gunter. His mother died on his seventh birthday and his father later married Beulah Gay Harden.
While a student at Southern State College in Magnolia, Arkansas, Russell was a cross country runner. Having grown up on the flat terrain of west Texas he loved running the hills of Arkansas in its prettiest seasons of spring and fall and it was then he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life in Arkansas. After graduation, he returned to Texas just long enough to earn a Juris Doctorate at Texas Tech University and then immediately moved to Arkansas and adopted it as his home state.
In 1975 Russell was admitted to practice law in Arkansas and Texas. A founding member of Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, he practiced labor and employment law and served as its managing director for 16 years. Blessed with everything but a long life he was a loyal friend, patient mentor and trusted advisor whose integrity earned him the respect not only of his clients but also of opposing counsel. Despite his diagnosis of esophageal cancer in 2008, he continued to work on behalf of his clients. His quiet demeanor, analytical skill, positive attitude and strong work ethic served him and his clients well.
Although a self-acknowledged introvert Russell took an active role in many organizations. He served on committees of the Arkansas and American Bar Associations, chaired the Arkansas Bar Association's Labor Section and served as Director of Government Affairs for the Arkansas Society for Human Resources Management. As a member of the Society for Human Resources Management he served as Chair of the National Legislative Affairs Committee, testified before the U.S. Congress and appeared on The Today Show regarding the Society's legislative positions. He was President and a Board Member of the Central Arkansas Human Resources Association. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and as Management Chair of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services Advisory Council.
The Arkansas Society for Human Resources Management named him Outstanding Human Resources Professional in 2001 and awarded him its Legislative Advocacy Award in 2005 and 2006. He received the Central Arkansas Human Resources Association Outstanding Member Award three times. He was included in Best Lawyers of America for more than 25 years, named in Corporate Counsel magazine as one of the Best Lawyers in Labor & Employment Law, listed in Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business and in Who's Who in American Law. For the last six years he was listed in the Mid-South Super Lawyers in Labor and Employment Law.
Nothing was more important to Russell than his four daughters who survive him: Kimzey Gunter of Taos, New Mexico; Sarah Gunter Newman of Austin, Texas; Laura Gunter and Rachel Gunter both of Little Rock. He was a constant in their lives and was proud of the adults they became. He also is survived by his grandchildren: Isaac, Thea and Cedar Hardaway of Taos, New Mexico; his sisters Barbara Burton of Clayton, North Carolina, Shellie Sims of Amarillo, Texas and Taos, New Mexico, Diane Brown of College Station, Texas and his new son-in-law Matthew Newman of Austin, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Russell enjoyed his life and had no interest in dying yet in his typical organized manner prepared a video for his family, colleagues and friends which will be shown at a brief memorial service on Wednesday, February 13th at 5 p.m. at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock and, at his request, will be followed by a party there. Business attire will be appreciated but casual attire is encouraged.
Russell asked that no flowers be sent and that any memorials be in the form of donations to UAMS Foundation, 4301 West Markham, Slot 716, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205 with a notation that the funds be directed to the Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Donations may also be made online at www.uams.edu. Please visit www.cremationsofarkansas.com to leave condolences, a memory, and to sign the online guest register.