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Walter Joseph Gundling dead at 82

March 11, 2021
Walter Joseph Gundling
Walter Joseph Gundling

Walter Joseph Gundling, 82, of Mountville, Pennsylvania, died February 17. A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he was active at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in his youth and a member of a family of pipe organ builders. His father, Walter Sebastian Gundling, grandfather, Sebastian, and families came to the United States in 1926 after leaving a family pipe organ building business in Laudenbach, Germany. They settled in Erie, Pennsylvania, working for the Tellers Organ Company, where Walter Sebastian completed his apprenticeship. In 1929, the family settled in Lancaster and founded the Sebastian Gundling & Son Co., which was engaged in maintaining and rebuilding pipe organs as well as building new instruments. In 1953, the firm, now including the teenaged Walter Joseph Gundling, installed the organ in Sacred Heart Church.

After graduation from Lancaster Catholic High School in 1956, Walter Joseph began full-time work for the family business, having completed his apprenticeship. He was the third generation to carry on the business, with clients in 225 churches in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1981, Walter Joseph Gundling’s son, Daniel Walter, joined the firm.

On April 28, 1962, Walter Joseph Gundling married Kathleen Ann Wiegand in Lancaster, and they were married for nearly 59 years. Together they raised five children.

Walter Joseph Gundling retired from the business in 2005, at which time the firm closed. The Moravian Church of Lancaster hosted a retirement concert and reception on June 12, 2005, Walter Joseph’s birthday.

Walter Joseph Gundling is survived by his children Daniel Gundling (Patricia) of Emmaus, Pennsylvania; Joseph Anthony Gundling (Janet) of Lebanon, Pennsylvania; Mary Ellen Gundling Koval (Mark) of Wilmington, Delaware; Anne Marie Gundling Williams (Andy) of Lancaster; and Barbara Kathleen Gundling Raihall (James) of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania; as well as ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A funeral Mass was celebrated at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lancaster, on February 25. Memorial gifts may be made to the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, 1834 Lititz Pike, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601.

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