Gunther Dohse

July 6, 1930 - June 2, 2022


Gunther Dohse, 91, passed away peacefully at his home in Chimacum, Washington on June 2, 2022.

Gunther was born in Los Angeles, California. His immigrant parents returned to Germany during the Depression years when he was 3 years old. Surviving Allied bombings in World War II, Gunther, age 18, with a sixth-grade education, returned to the United States with nine dollars in his pocket.

He worked on a farm in Pennsylvania where people spoke Pennsylvania-Dutch. Four months later, he worked as a window washer in Seattle when the city’s tallest building was the Smith Tower.

Leaving Germany, Gunther’s plan was to join one of the armed forces to obtain the GI Bill to get an education. He had already been turned down by the Army in Pennsylvania. In Seattle, the Army’s enlistment quotas were filled, but he had better luck approaching the Marines.

A Private First Class in September 1950, he volunteered for duty with a Marine Rifle Company, which was encamped in Inchon, Korea. He survived the Chosin Reservoir campaign in North Korea, earning the Silver Star Medal and a Purple Heart. Subsequently, Gunther served two tours in Vietnam where he earned the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star medal. After 20 years of service, he retired as a captain in the Marines and attained his goal, the GI Bill in 1970. Challenging course work and attending summer classes, Gunther graduated cum laude from the University of Washington in 1973. He accepted a position to teach elementary classes at the North Kitsap School District in the state of Washington. Gunther made a second career change in the mid-1980s when he joined the Washington State University Extension Agency to train and manage Master Gardeners in Kitsap County.

A final retirement move, brought Gunther to wooded acreage in Chimacum, Wash., fulfilling a dream to live close to where mountains meet salt water. He and his wife Lee were ardent gardeners. Their kitchen garden produced something for their meals year-round. Lee’s daffodils, irises and dahlias and Gunther’s tulips and heathers, bordered by the couple’s 65 rhododendrons, provided color from early spring to early winter.

Gunther was predeceased by his first wife Margaret; and son, Daniel. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 37 years, Leona Rose; his daughters, Nancy Edgerton (Anders) and Marie Nelson (Marvin); and his sister in Germany, Uta Pinders (Viktor). He leaves also a whole host of relatives, comrades, students and friends. There will be no public service. His family would ask that you plant a few tulips in his memory this fall.

Semper fi.