Patricia Gunn, a longtime community activist for children and families in Burbank, died Sunday at Glendale Memorial Hospital from natural causes. She was 73.
Gunn was instrumental in the annual Holiday Basket Program that provides food and gifts for the less fortunate in Burbank. She also helped raise funds to send disadvantaged youth in Burbank to summer camp.
Born June 13, 1935, in Kansas City, Mo., Gunn moved to Burbank with her family in 1938 after her father began working for Trans World Airlines.
Gunn began volunteering in the early 1970s when she worked with the school district as a volunteer in classrooms, which led to her involvement in PTA and Girl Scouts.
Later on, she became involved with Tournament of Roses Assn. and the Burbank Coordinating Council.
She married Harry Gunn, who was a machinist at Hawker Pacific Aerospace, in 1965.
For years, she was a past president of the Burbank Coordinating Council â€” an organization that collected and organized donations of food items and gifts made by individuals, groups and businesses â€” that were provided to more than 500 families during the holidays. The event was a collaboration between the Coordinating Council, Burbank Salvation Army and Burbank Temporary Aid Center.
Gunn gave the community an opportunity to help through the Coordinating Council event, he said.
â€œWe will miss her and her great work,â€ Golonski said.
Gunn made sure children from low-income families in the community could attend camp for minimal cost by working with the Burbank Community YMCA and several other camp programs in the city.
Gunn saw the importance of providing resources for children in Burbank, said Greg Bowman, Burbank Unified School District superintendent of schools.
â€œCertainly no one had the best interest of children any more than she did, particularly those children who are from less-affluent families,â€ he said. Gunn was someone who cared for families without seeking attention, especially during the holidays, Bowman said.
â€œOne of the true gifts that she gave to these families was to provide and make sure they were taken care of during the holiday season,â€ he said. â€œShe did this without seeking creditCity Manager Mary Alvord said Gunn was a tireless volunteer, especially with the Burbank Rose Parade floats.
â€œShe's just one of those people who has been an anchor in the community in terms of giving time and service,â€ Alvord said. â€œShe and her husband were working around the clock. She was one of those people who [were] always spending more time taking care of the unfortunate, always taking care of everybody and making Burbank a better place to live.â€
â€œShe was always very kind, no matter how busy she was, she was always concerned with you or your family,â€ Alvord said. â€œBurbank will certainly miss her kind, giving spirit.â€
Gunn also attended city board meetings when she felt strongly about a cause, said her daughter, Wendy Gunn.
â€œShe believed you got things changed by doing, that you become a participant of the process,â€ Wendy Gunn said.
Elaine Paonessa served with Gunn on the Salvation Army board.
â€œShe was very committed to both the Coordinating Council and the Salvation Army board,â€ Paonessa said. â€œShe was a beautiful lady, a wonderful person, very committed to whatever she took on to do.â€
One person who has seen Gunn's volunteerism in action for almost 25 years is close friend, Janet Diel, who is president of the Coordinating Council.
â€œFor Pat, giving was a way of life and it's going to take at least 25 people to fill her shoes,â€ she said.
Diel sees Gunn's work as something to be remembered for the number of people she has helped.
â€œHer work has benefited thousands, not hundreds, but thousands through the years,â€ Diel said.
She is survived by husband Harry, son Dave Gunn, daughters Wendy Gunn, Christina Norton and GayLynn Tencher, brother and sister-in-law Walter and Mary Thompson; 14 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and four nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. July 26 at First Christian Church in Burbank.