John Gunzler, a minority owner in Top 40 Supplier Edwards Garment Co. (asi/51752), has passed away. Gunzler, a widely respected and much-loved leader who played a lead role in shaping the success of the Kalamazoo, MI-based supplier, was 82 years old.
“Over his career, John touched most areas within Edwards and helped define the company,” Gary Schultz, president and CEO of Edwards, told Counselor. “He was a fixture for Edwards at industry events and trade shows, while being instrumental in building customer relations, finding and developing fabric mills and factories, (and) helping mold the product offering and catalog. As a result, Edwards today is a reflection of John’s tireless effort and deep passion for our customers and our business, and we would not be who or where we are without him.”
Described as a gentleman and a mentor, Gunzler joined Edwards from parent company Seminole Manufacturing. An obituary states that Gunzler formed strong relationships with customers, suppliers and associates through his passion for the business, his love of people, and his honesty and integrity.
Largely self-educated, Gunzler was born in Budapest, Hungary. He and his parents survived the Hungarian Holocaust and moved to Italy on August 15, 1948. He attended a Catholic textile boarding school for three years, and came to the U.S. in the spring of 1951. A few years later, he joined Seminole Manufacturing Company, eventually becoming a member of Seminole’s Board of Directors. Gunzler had a passion for opera, art, music, hiking, skiing, tennis, sailing, food and many other activities.
Gunzler leaves behind his wife of 58 years – Marianne, described as the love of his life. Remaining family also includes his daughters and sons-in-law Melissa and Jay Curwin, and Nicole and Keith Oringer; four grandchildren, Rebecca and Sara Curwin, and Andrew and Eric Oringer; his brother Paul Gunzler, and many nieces, nephews and close friends
Schultz told Counselor that Gunzler was a minority owner in Edwards Garment. The CEO said the ownership remains closely held among a handful of individuals.
Gunzler’s “impact at Edwards and on many others in our industry was immeasurable,” states an obituary Edwards released. “We all miss him, but are blessed to have had him be part of the Edwards family.”
Gunzler’s family has requested that any memorial contributions be given to his beloved NY/NJ Trail Conference.