Sunday Extra: Rotary leader attained many peaks

Sunday Extra: Rotary leader attained many peaks


Ken Gunji, American.

Born in Los Angeles, Ken had a full lifetime of exemplary living, at every point being a leader.

Growing up in the Chicago area, he rose to the rank of Eagle Scout, a mountain top for young boys. He continued Scouting leadership to receive two other major leadership awards, one from our local Scout area, and another from the national organization. Two more mountain tops recognizing exemplary leadership.

Rotary became an outlet for Ken to be engaged in the Champaign area, the 50 clubs in the Rotary District, the national and international aspects of Rotary. Leadership and awards at every level. More mountaintops.

He modeled the Rotary 4 Way Test:

Is it the truth? Ken held fast to that for himself and others.

Is it fair to all concerned? He exceeded that on the positive side, putting time and money into play.

Will it build good will and better friendships? Ken was A+ on doing things that did just that.

Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Oh, yes indeed. A history of service above self.

The Mother Superior in "Sound of Music" advises a young novitiate to "climb every mountain." That was Ken Gunji. He knew the ideals, and he lived them, building friendships throughout his life.

The number in attendance and the "who" of attendees at his memorial service at the I Hotel last month provided a bookend to the life well lived. 400? The room was filled to overflowing. Speakers and guests spoke warmly of the gentleman, Ken.

The past governor of Wisconsin, a former history professor, commented that "we are a nation of immigrants. The first walked over on a land bridge from Asia." The first Americans have been here the longest and have certain characteristics that are pretty special. Those of us whose families are more recent build America today. The very best are folks like Ken, who pour themselves into doing what they can to make dreams reality.

It is still happening.

Exhibit A: Ken Gunji, American.

Lin Warfel of Tolono is a past News-Gazette Farm Leader.