Gunther P. Eschenbrenner, a longtime resident of Orcas Island died peacefully in his home at The Gardens in Williamstown, Vermont on Aug. 6, 2012. He was 87 years old and experienced a full long life.
Born in Hamburg, Germany, he received an engineering degree in Germany and a Masters degree at Columbia University in New York, where he became a U.S. citizen. He married Ellen Spitzer in 1953, who predeceased him in 2001. Together they lived in New York, Connecticut, Texas, London and Calgary before retiring in 1987 to Orcas Island in Washington State. He moved to Vermont in 2011.
Throughout his life, Gunther was an inspiration to many. He was a wonderful gentleman and marvelous individual with enviable accomplishments. As a Professional Mechanical and Chemical Engineer, he was a valued mentor who set an example for younger engineers and leaders at the M.W. Kellogg Company where he was director of engineering for many years. His career included pioneering work and leadership developing pressure vessel technology that led to innovations, which helped to fight hunger and feed millions of people around the world.
Gunther loved the outdoors and pursued a life-long passion for hiking in many parts of the U.S. and the world, including the Himalayas. He led outdoor backpacking and white water canoe trips for the Sierra Club and the Boy Scouts. He and Ellen campaigned for recycling and protecting natural areas. He was a sailor, a follower of classical music, an ardent lifelong reader, President of the Friends of the Orcas Island Library, and a skilled chef and devotee of French cooking. An invitation from him for dinner was a “not to miss” affair.
Gunther is survived by his daughter Sandra Levine, and her husband Michael Levine of Middlesex, Vermont, his son Ron Eschenbrenner and Rebecca Ryle of Acton, Massachusetts, two grandchildren, Dan Levine of Washington DC and Rachel Levine of Middlesex, Vermont, and his brother, Rudolf Eschenbrenner who lives near Toronto, Canada.
No funeral services will be held. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to support affordable housing on Orcas Island through the OPAL Community Land Trust; 286 Enchanted Forest Rd; PO Box 1133; Eastsound, Wash. 98245; www.opalclt.org