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San Anselmo+Fairfax>William Gundry (Memory of)St. Vincent de Paul Society Kitchen Benefits

Saturday, June 05, 2010
2:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Event Type:
Location Details:
St. Vincent de Paul Society Benefit
to 4:30 p.m. at Abiding Way Church in San Anselmo, directly across from the Red Hill Shopping Center +
Musical benefit will take place at 9:30 p.m. at 19 Broadway in Fairfax. (dont know when ends)

Two fundraisers celebrate Fairfax man's memory
By Rob Rogers IJ
Posted: 06/04/2010 01:57:49 PM PDT

William Gundry.

One year after his death, the family and friends of Fairfax resident William Gundry plan to honor his memory with a pair of fundraisers for his favorite cause - the free dining room of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County.

Gundry, who died June 7, 2009 at the age of 21, spent many hours volunteering at the dining room while a student at Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo.

"I'd go to pick him up and find him talking and laughing with a homeless person on the curb," said Karen Gundry Smith, William's mother. "He was a kid with an enormous heart who always wanted to make someone feel better. Had he lived long enough, I know he would have done something that involved really reaching out to people in need."

After a long battle with alcoholism and drug addiction, Gundry died of an overdose, his parents said.

"William struggled with a disease that has no cure," said Frank Gundry, William's father. "He had gone into treatment in a 30-day program. When he came back here to Marin, he seemed to be losing his connection to the program. It was as if he was a swimmer caught in a riptide, literally out of control.

"He went into the city with some friends a year ago to spend the evening," Frank Gundry said, "and he died."

Almost immediately, Gundry's parents searched for a way to honor his legacy.

"His mom called me either the day he died or the next day," said Christine Paquette, director of development at the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin
County. "She wanted to dedicate her resources to doing the work he had started. Since then, she's done an incredible job in raising money and getting people involved."

In less than a year, the William Gundry Fund has raised more than $12,000 to benefit the San Rafael dining room, which provides free hot meals to the homeless. On Saturday, the family hopes to add to that fund through a rummage sale at Abiding Way Church in San Anselmo.

"I knew we had to do something positive, something that would mean something," Smith said. "There are a lot of homeless people in Marin and a lot of hungry people - more than most people realize. I thought it would be good to focus attention on that growing need while honoring William at the same time. We're doing it for him."

In addition, Gundry's friend and former Drake classmate Jeff Scott will host a musical benefit at Fairfax's 19 Broadway Saturday night. The 9:30 p.m. event will feature performances by both Scott's band, The Heaters, and his brother's band, the Monophonics.

"Me and Will used to make these videos together when we were little, just goofing around with the video camera," said Scott, who lives in San Francisco. "I went to his mom's house to give them to her, and she was telling me about the rummage sale she's doing. I thought it would be a good idea to put on a show."

Scott has already received roughly 200 responses to the Facebook page he set up to promote the event. Many have come from friends or former classmates who appreciate the opportunity to celebrate Gundry's life.

"He was one of the funniest people I ever knew," Scott said. "He was very kind-hearted, energetic, always making people laugh, making light of every situation. He made you feel good when times were bad."

In the past year, Gundry's parents have received hundreds of letters from friends and acquaintances of their son, describing the positive influence William had on their lives. Through the fund they've established in his memory, Gundry and Smith hope that influence can continue.

"Not a moment goes by that we're not missing him," Frank Gundry said. "But he is changing lives in his passing, too. William was a remarkable young man, and he touched many people's lives. Our own lives have taken a different course because of the reality of losing someone we love so much."

NOVATO CAMPUS STUDENT REP. TO STUDENT SENATE member of marin green party council + + rep for sf north north bay to state party + COM Luke's Guild of Arts and Science Campus Greens Pres.

Added to the calendar on Sat, Jun 5, 2010 1:54PM
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