Jimmy “Jim Dawg” Gunter, 53, passed away peacefully at his home on Dec. 2, 2019, surrounded by his family after fighting a two-year battle with cancer.
Jimmy was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, on May 22, 1966. He was the first of two children born to Cleadis and Sandra Gunter. Cleadis and Sandra divorced in 1979 and Sandee, Jimmy and Kim moved to Hope later that year where he started seventh grade in the old Hope Schoolhouse. They moved to Clark Fork, Idaho, in 1983 where he attended Clark Fork High School from eighth grade through 12th grade. He played football for the Wampus Cats his sophomore through senior year. During his junior year, he was crowned homecoming king. He was also co-captain of the football team with his best friend, Pete Cavanaugh, his senior year. He was elected student body president of Clark Fork High School his senior year. He was very independent from a young age, and he moved out on his own during the fall of his senior year. He loved Clark Fork and always considered it his hometown.
Jimmy had a strong work ethic, and wasn’t afraid of hard work. He worked during the summer at the Golden Hind from junior high until the summer after ninth grade. The summer after his sophomore year he headed out with his friend, Roger Sigle, to deliver fireworks all over Kansas and Nebraska. The following summer he and Roger worked in the wheat fields in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and North Dakota, where he learned to drive a Mack truck while transporting the wheat from the fields to the elevators and hauling the combine and other equipment between jobs.
Upon graduation he worked for Ruen Core Drilling. He then worked in the woods where he learned to operate heavy equipment. In the early 1990s, he drove log truck for Jack Buell Trucking out of St. Maries, Idaho. He was also a loader operator for Bruce Crabb Logging. In 2002 he decided to get out of the woods and took a job selling cars at Riverside Auto for the Hiatt family in Bonners Ferry where his slogan was “doggon honest.” During this time he also leased and operated Murphys Bar in Hope, Idaho. After that, he worked for Interstate Concrete and ran the asphalt plant in Hayden Idaho from 2003 until 2010 when he left to work the oil fields in North Dakota for two years. Upon returning to Sandpoint, he drove log truck for Wes Olson Trucking in Sandpoint and worked for Harvey May before returning to Interstate where he ended his working career just four short months before his passing.
Jimmy worked hard and played harder. Those who knew Jimmy knew him by his big smile, infectious laugh, and generous heart. He would help anyone in need without any expectations of getting anything in return. His family was everything to him, and he spent time enjoying life to the fullest with each of them. If he was teasing you, that meant he liked you. He enjoyed fishing on Lake Pend Oreille as the captain of the Scurvy Dog with his dear friend Bernie Byers, hunting big game with his buddies and his boys, racing stock cars (No. 34) with cousin Jimmy Mac and his buddy Joe Derr. He was a fabulous cook and often had barbecues in his backyard. His hot wings were amazing! Anyone and everyone was always welcome. He loved classic muscle cars. He owned a 1968 Chevelle Super Sport and a 1967 Firebird convertible.
He started dating the love of his life, Angel in August 2012, and they were married on March 2, 2018. He and Angel were inseparable. They loved to take off on his Harley during hot summer days and cruise the countryside stopping at different watering holes along the way to spread laughter and cheer. Jimmy and Angel bought a fishing boat in 2017 and enjoyed many days out on lake Pend Oreille entertaining friends and family. Jimmy was a serious fisherman and enjoyed teaching his tricks (not all of them, of course!) to his close friends and family. Jimmy and Angel went to Hawaii in 2015 with a lot of encouragement from Angel. Once there, he fell in love with Maui. They went back to Hawaii one more time, this time to the Big Island. They were planning a third trip for February 2018, when he found out he was sick. Jimmy and Angel did everything together. It was not uncommon for them to take long drives in the woods “chicken hunting” or deer hunting. There were several trips to Lake Koocanusa in Montana where lots of fish were caught and lots of memories made. Jimmy would make his own brine and smoke the fish he caught. Jimmy loved his cats, Moyie and Cheshire. Even though he didn’t want Angel to get any cats, she eventually won and they quickly became his friends. You would often find Moyie (Moe) and him napping in his chair. Jimmy lovingly called Moyie his “Moe Doggy”, and that cat would come a running! Jimmy always said Moe was part dog!
Jimmy was born to be the life of the party. He could light up a room with his smile, and he loved to entertain with his stories and jokes. If he wasn’t teasing you or giving you a crazy nickname, that meant he didn’t like you. He had a fabulous voice, and was always a hit at karaoke. He also enjoyed sitting around a campfire with his family and friends strumming his guitar and singing. He enjoyed unwinding with a beer or cocktail after a long hard day of work. He loved his family and friends, and made each of them feel special, and he loved to make people laugh. His boys were his best friends as well as his greatest accomplishments, and he spent a lot of time making memories with them.
Jimmy’s dad, Cleadis, always wanted him to be baptized, and it was important to Jimmy as well. He was baptized in September 2019 along with his sister Kim and his sister Tammy. It was an amazing ceremony performed by his good friend Scott Keller. It took place in the lake he loved so dearly at the Green Monarchs on Labor Day weekend 2019. He passed clutching the cross that Scott gifted him during the baptism.
Jimmy is survived by his wife, Angel Gunter; his mother, Sandra (Jim) Smith; his stepmom, Terri Gunter; his children, Nancy Hartsock, Jacob Gunter, Joseph (Genevieve) Gunter Billy Eveland, PaulRay Daniels, Teresa (Tomas) Perez, Mikayla Inman, Jessica Inman and Alison Seward, who he loved as his own; his grandchildren, Blake, Deandre, Jayden, Believe, Charley, Aurora or Waylon (due in June), Michael, Jazzy, Maddy, Mia, Kaylyn, Emily, Robbie, Brian and Alex; his siblings, Kimberlee Gunter and Tamara (Chris) Porath; his nephew, Tucker, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins as well as his extended Byers family.
Jimmy was proceeded in death by his grandparents, Clarence and Jewel Gunter, and Frank and Edith Warren; his father, Cleadis Gunter; his aunts and uncles, Goldie and Les Raynor, and Barbara Gunter; his cousins, Donnie Raynor, Billy Gunter, Billy Macumber, and Jimmy Macumber; and his dear friend and brother, Bernie Byers.
A celebration of life and potluck will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Eagles Lodge, 1511 John Hudon Lane, in Sandpoint, Idaho. Music will be provided by the Miah Kohal Band.
Family and friends are invited to sign Jim’s online guest book at coffeltfuneral.com.
Arrangements are under the care of Coffelt Funeral Service.