Madison -- John L. Von Gunten, age 98, died December 31, 2010 at Sylvan Crossings Assisted Living in Westshire Village. He was born on a farm near Bancroft, Wisconsin on January 4, 1912, the second son of Otto and Pearl (Fletcher) Von Gunten.
John graduated from high school in Almond, Wisconsin, and was a 1934 graduate of the UW-Madison in Civil Engineering. Early in his career he worked for the Wisconsin State Highway Commission. He then joined the Frank Mashuda Company of Milwaukee, working on the construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and a cement plant in Des Moines, Iowa. During World War II, he was employed by Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, and J. L. McConnell & Associates for construction of the U.S. Navy Shipyard facilities at Seneca, Illinois where the LST tank-landing ships were built. In 1945, John returned to Madison where he began a long and rewarding association as Engineer and General Superintendent for Icke Construction Company, retiring in 1977.
John was a life member of the UW Alumni Association, Chi Epsilon, the Madison Technical Club, and the National Society of Professional Engineers, serving as president of the Wisconsin Southwest Chapter in 1960-61, and in 1971 awarded "Engineer of the Year" in private industry. He was a charter member of the Madison Golden K Kiwanis, a past-president of the Westmorland Community Association, and a Westside Business Men's Association director. He was a member of the Madison Elks Lodge #410, the Wautoma Masonic Lodge #148, and Westminster Presbyterian Church.
John and Jeannette Viereg were married on February 10, 1940 at the First Congregational Church in Madison, Wisconsin. They had four daughters. In 1949, John designed and built a home for the family in Westmorland. In 1971, John and Jeannette moved to a smaller home on Lake Mendota in the Spring Harbor neighborhood. They enjoyed the boating, fishing, birds and waterfowl, and watching the activities on the lake for many years. Jeannette preceded him in death on September 10, 2000. John continued to live at home until October 2009.
He is survived by his four daughters, Jane (Larry) Wilson of Waunakee, Karen Von Gunten of Boulder, Colorado, Kaye Von Gunten of Apache Junction, Arizona and Skookumchuck, British Columbia, and Linda Saltzburg of Charlottesville, Virginia; seven grandchildren, Brett (Abby) Wilson, Scott (Amy) Wilson, Amber (Marc) Fritsch, Jennifer (Ben) Nickol, Mark (Nissane) Saltzburg, Lisa Saltzburg, and Diane Saltzburg; and five great-grandchildren; Nico Wilson, Ava, Aubrey and Max Fritsch, and Riley Nickol. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Lyle and Glenn Von Gunten.
A funeral service will be held at 11: 00 AM on Saturday, January 15, 2011 at Cress Funeral Home, 6021 University Avenue with Rev. P. Alex Thornburg officiating. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 10:00 AM until the time of the service. A private burial will be held for the family. Memorials may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.
The family would like to give special thanks to the staff at Sylvan Crossings for their excellent care, and also to Dr. John Ewalt and Dr. David Paolone.