Since retired North Haven teacher Ernest Gunn’s death last month, former students have taken to Facebook to share memories of the man.
Gunn died Monday, Jan. 28 in Windham hospital. He was 81.
The New Haven native was a lifelong music aficionado and taught fifth grade and music in North Haven public schools for 37 years.
“When I think of my time at Temple Street School, Mr. Gunn stands out for sure,” said Kelley Regan O’Brien, a former student from his fifth-grade class. “He, along with several of his Temple Street colleagues, inspired me to become an elementary school teacher.”
O’Brien said one of her strongest memories of Gunn’s class was when they covered the stock market and got to use pretend money.
Other Facebook commenters spoke of Gunn’s everlasting zeal for teaching and his tactics for making learning accessible to kids.
In his obituary, Gunn is described as good-natured and having a great sense of humor, which was never lost.
He enjoyed ice dancing, doing crossword puzzles and was an “excellent” cook, a “voracious” reader and a fan of the Red Sox and Patriots.
Gunn earned a bachelors degree in music education from Western Connecticut State University and masters and sixth-year degrees from Southern Connecticut State University.
He was the music director of the Hamden Festival Chorus for almost 20 years and became the music director and conductor of the American Union of Swedish Singers, an international singing society, which took him to music conventions and concerts across the country. The Swedish government presented him with three medals to honor his service.
Gunn was also a member of the New Haven Chorale and sang in many notable shows, according to his obituary.
He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Betsy Schumacher Olsen Gunn, his son, William Harlow Gunn, and many grandchildren.
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