In Memoriam: Anita (LaBonte) Gunning


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree Anita (LaBonte) Gunning on March 4 in Centerville after a long illness. She was 94.

Anita was born in Salem, Mass., on Nov. 26, 1921, to the late William and Alma (Jebsen) LaBonte. Soon after, the family moved to Falmouth and Anita attended the local schools and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1939, where she was a member of the golf team, a rarity for women at that time.

After attending the Cape Cod Secretarial School, she embarked on a career in office administration.  She began working at WHOI in 1963 as a secretary/bookkeeper.  In 1970, she became assistant to the Department Chair in Biology.  In 1974, she became a staff assistant and retired in 1982.

Blessed with a very outgoing personality and coupled with a warm and friendly smile, she became instants friends with all who came in contact with her, no matter the age difference. Anita was a contributing editor for the Hatchville section of the book known as "The Book of Falmouth" that was published in 1986 for the Falmouth Tricentennial Celebration. She also was a volunteer at the Falmouth Senior Center for their computer classes.

Her love of cooking and entertaining led her to take many cooking classes where she could expand her culinary skills and enjoyed a glass or two of wine with her aspiring chefs. Another passion of hers was gardening, as she received an award from the Falmouth Garden Club, for flowering growth in sand. Doing yard work around her home was another source of enjoyment for her, especially during burning season. Anita was also a great collector of stamps, coins, shells, post cards, and antique toys.

A great lover of birds and animals, she enjoyed watching the parade of wildlife outside her kitchen window, such as deer and foxes, but especially the six turkeys, which "adopted" her some years ago and have been permanent residents, ever since.

Anita was also a member of the Order of Eastern Star.

Anita leaves behind her son Robert W. Gunning of Falmouth and Singapore and several nieces and nephews and many friends.

The family would like to thank the excellent staff at the VNA, Royal Falmouth, Harbor Point at Centerville, and Broad Reach Hospice for the excellent care rendered to Anita during her final journey.

A celebration of her life will be planned for later in the year. In lieu of flowers, and in Anita's memory, donations may be made to Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, One Bulfinch Place, 2nd Floor, Boston, Mass., 02114.

Information for this obituary is from the Cape Cod Times.



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