Meet Your Neighbors: The Gunderson Family

What did the boy librarian do when he saw the cute girl librarian?  He checked her out!  Well, actually it might not have been just like that, but our neighbors Lynn and Gayle Gunderson met in the course of their professional life as librarians. Now, recently retired, they are “checking out” new ways of enjoying the benefits of living an active Colorado lifestyle. Interview by Bruce McDonald.

Bruce: How long have you lived in Southern Gables?  Gayle: It’s been 24 years since we moved here! It doesn’t seem so long ago. I can certainly agree with that… and what brought you here?  Lynn: Gayle was from Colorado originally, and I grew up in South Dakota. We met while we were both working at the Boulder Public Library. We lived in Utah and Minnesota, then in Colorado Springs. After a while we moved to Kansas to work at the Wichita Public Library, where we stayed for four years. The move back to Colorado from Kansas was very intentional; we wanted to come back because we loved the Colorado lifestyle and most of our family were here. Gayle: When we decided to move here the housing market was really hot. Lynn came out ahead of me, to search for a home. Each time he saw a house he thought we’d like, it was sold before he could get an offer in. Lynn went ahead on his own to buy this home, and I approved it later. There were no cell phones or video then for me to even see it. We’ve stayed here ever since and t’s been 24 years now, so it seems we made the right choice.

What are a few things that you like the most about the Southern Gables community?  Gayle: To start with, when we first found this neighborhood, the schools were important. Our daughters were high school age, and the location was so convenient for Bear Creek High School, and everything about the school was right for them. Lynn: I think we can say it’s the people, the neighbors. We’ve formed long-term relationships and the neighbors watch out for each other. I like that it’s an established neighborhood, with the big trees and a comfortable feel.

Do you have a favorite memory with your Southern Gables neighbors?  There was a big snowstorm – 2003 I think – where everyone on the block got out and worked together clearing the snow and making sure all the homes had access. It was a good experience in community spirit. Everyone on the block stays in touch and knows when help is needed. We’ve had some neighbor block parties, and ice cream social. Those are good memories.

What is the most neighborly experience you’ve had or seen in our neighborhood?  Gayle: I walk with my walking partner Janet from across the way. It’s a good, longstanding friendship and we’ve been through a lot just starting from the fact of having common interests in the neighborhood. We talk things over as we walk, and we’ve covered a lot of ground. Things like when the Green Gables development was in the planning stages with Jefferson County back in 2012 – we had concerns about traffic, the type of development and that it wasn’t in Lakewood, school capacity, issues like that. We got involved in the Planning Commission hearings and got others to be involved too. I started up our neighborhood with getting people to sign up for Nextdoor – it was a new thing then, connecting people on a social media platform based on neighborhood location – to share ideas and concerns. I think it did a lot of good in making neighbors aware of what was going on. Nextdoor has changed a lot over the years but I try to see the positive aspects of it. Overall it can still do a lot of good for sharing local information. We have had good luck in finding reliable contractors when we needed them.

What are your hobbies, leisure time? Your work?  Gayle:  We’re both retired, and for me it was just last month, so we’re getting used to it. I was Dean of the Library at Colorado Christian University. Lynn:  I worked for Jefferson County Public Library, as a librarian. That’s a job that has changed a lot over the years, isn’t it?  It sure has. We were “reference librarians.” Now, most people would wonder what that title meant. They can just google it, right?  Yes. You can still “ask a librarian” for help, but the librarian’s job has changed a lot. How about now, as you’re beginning your retirement years?  Gayle: We’re planning lot of travel, mostly in the west, initially. The national parks are being “loved to death” with overcrowding and we’re planning other ways of seeing and enjoying the beauty of this country. We like camping, biking, hiking so there’s plenty to enjoy. We have 5 grandchildren – all boys – and family camping is a favorite activity.

How about any special or interesting talents?  Gayle:  I play the piano and organ at church. That’s something I really love doing and I’m not retiring from that. I play bass too, and Lynn… Lynn: I barely play the ukulele. I’m trying to get better, and I’m trying to get the grandsons interested in music using the uke.

In closing, do you have any advice we can pass on to future generations?  There’s a lot to think about there. The climate, deep divisions in society, the way people disagree about how we should be, what we need to do… we need to get back to the Golden Rule. That one thing would make a big difference.

If you would like to nominate a Southern Gables neighbor for the Meet Your Neighbor series, please email [email protected].

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