George Francis Gunning, 88, Of Alexandria

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George Francis Gunning passed away on Jan. 6, 2021, at the Silverado Memory Care Community in Alexandria, VA. He was 88 years old. He died as a result of COVID-19. George was an avid and adventurous world traveler who served his country, first as an officer in the US Army, and then in a long and distinguished civilian career with the US Navy. George had been a resident of Alexandria, VA for more than 40 years.

George was born in Rome, NY on July 1, 1932. Hoping to find better economic conditions during the Depression, his family moved briefly to Ireland in 1940, before returning to New York City. George graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in New York City. He attended Columbia University for a time, but completed his undergraduate studies at the City College of New York. As a member of the Army ROTC, George was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He served at Fort Carson in Colorado and was promoted to first lieutenant.

After leaving the Army, George returned to Columbia University where he earned a master’s degree as well as a professional diploma from Teachers College.

George began his professional life working for the Prudential Insurance Company, first in Newark, NJ and then in Santa Monica, CA. He then made a career move that would set the stage for the rest of his life when he became a personnel specialist with Douglas Aircraft and then with NASA’s Flight Research Center at Edwards Airforce Base. He then moved on to a role with the Navy’s Regional Office of Civilian Manpower Management at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. This role took him on frequent personnel troubleshooting assignments in Guam, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. He then served as the civilian personnel director for the US Military Assistance Command in Bangkok, where he lived for five years during the height of the Vietnam War.

In the late 1970s, George returned stateside to Alexandria, VA, continuing to provide direction and
expertise on civilian personnel matters for the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command and later for the US Army until his retirement in 1990.

Throughout his career, George received numerous commendations for his excellent performance and contributions, including the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service award.

Following his long and exciting career, George remained an active member of NARFE, the National
Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, and participated in many adult travel and education programs including Road Scholars.

George is survived by his nephews, Richard Magee of St. Louis, MO and Steven Magee of Short Hills, NJ, and by his niece, Ann Magee Peretzman of Princeton, NJ. George is also survived by his close friend Cris de Castillo of Alexandria, VA.

Memorial contributions in memory of George Gunning can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at

This article originally appeared on the Old Town Alexandria Patch

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