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Remembering W. Guy Gunn, ‘Father of PHIA’

February 4, 2010

PHIA sadly notes the passing on Saturday of W. Guy Gunn, a longtime highway industry advocate who was instrumental in the founding of this organization 50 years ago.

A Texas native and youngest of nine children, he was an Army veteran who became aneducator and weekly newspaper publisher before setting out for Washington in 1955 to work for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association as president of the Contractors Division. In 1959, he accepted the position of executive vice president of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors.

Guy’s legacy in the highway construction industry is truly remarkable. In 1959, he knew that the industry needed to place greater emphasis on communicating the benefits of building the Interstate Highway System. He understood how improving the transportation system would transform Pennsylvania, and he had a vision of how communication and education could help achieve a smooth transition.

In 1960, that vision became a reality when Guy brought together leaders in the construction and engineering sectors to charter PHIA. Under his leadership, industry stalwarts such as Max Hempt, Donald Stabler, John Dietz, Michael Baker, L.E. Jordan, Robert Cleveland, Daniel Parish, and the PA Automotive Association’s Edwin Parkinson (PHIA’s first president) began PHIA. Guy was instrumental in creating an “image” for PHIA, which for years was the ubiquitous “Frankie PHIA.”

Guy “retired” in 1980 and moved to Cibolo, Texas, but continued working part-time as consultant and field director for ARTBA until 1993.

Guy and Emily, his wife of 54 years, loved to travel and play golf. Survivors also include two sons, four grandchildren; five great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Services are private, and donations can be made to Boysville, 8555 E. Loop 1604 North, Converse, Texas 78109, in lieu of flowers.

PHIA fondly remembers its “father,” W. Guy Gunn, for his outstanding contributions to the industry.

One Comment on this post.

  1. Greg Gunn
    February 18, 2010 at 3:09 pm
  2. Dad was my best friend and I will always remember the life size stand up “cut out” of “Frankie PHIA” that adorned our family room for years. Frankie kind of looked like Dad, if I recall. Long live PHIA!

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