Cover photo for William L. (Bill) Gunlock's Obituary
William L. (Bill) Gunlock Profile Photo
1928 William (Bill) 2024

William L. (Bill) Gunlock

September 20, 1928 — January 2, 2024

William L. (Bill) Gunlock, age 95, of Kettering, Ohio, went to be with the Lord on January 2, 2024. Bill was a strong-willed, passionate, patriotic, and generous man who loved life, believed in the value of hard work, and cherished his family above all else. Bill had a quiet but strong belief in God, and in recent years he had commented often on being content and satisfied with his life. He will be missed greatly by his surviving family: his loving wife of 48 years, Sandy; sons, Tom (Kim) of Centerville, OH, Randy of Springboro, OH, Roger of Springboro, OH, Bo (Mary) of Hilton Head Island, SC, Brad (Emily) of Denver, CO; grandchildren, Matt (Danielle) of New York, NY, Zachary of Detroit, MI, Andrew of Springboro, OH, Jessica (C.J.) Shankland of Saline, MI, Greg of Springboro, OH, Emily (Michael) Williams of Wilmette, IL, Stephen (Sarah) of San Francisco, CA, Miles and Asher of Denver, CO; great-grandchildren, Kaden of New York, NY, Case of Saline, MI, Eleanor, Anna, and Lillian of Wilmette, IL, and Oliver and Benjamin of San Francisco, CA; brother, David (Saundra) of Chillicothe, OH, and many nieces and nephews and other relatives throughout the country. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy (mother of Tom, Randy, Roger, and Bo); brother, Richard (Ardella) of Denton, TX, and brother, Donald (Patricia) of Winston Salem, NC.

Bill was born in Chillicothe, Ohio on September 20, 1928 to Walter and Ethel Gunlock. He graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1948 where he was named an All-Ohio Lineman in football and was selected to play in the 1947 Ohio All- Star game in Canton, Ohio. This is where he met his lifelong friend, future teammate, and coaching associate, Glenn "Bo" Schembechler. Bill received a full football scholarship to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and was a three-year letterman as an offensive guard. Bill was a member of the 1948 and 1950 Mid-American Conference championship teams, the latter of which won the 1951 Salad Bowl (now known as the Fiesta Bowl). This victory propelled Miami's head coach Woody Hayes to The Ohio State University's head coaching job beginning in 1951. Bill graduated from Miami University in 1951 with a BS degree in Education and dreamed of a career in teaching and coaching high school football.

Following college, the Army came calling. After completing basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Bill served a two-year stint at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas where he was assigned to special services and played football for the military team. Following discharge, Bill began his football coaching career as an assistant coach at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio under Coach Paul Hoernemann. In the ensuing decade, Bill quickly ascended the college football coaching ranks. He coached the offensive line at Bowling Green State University in 1955-57 under Coach Doyt Perry where Bill was recognized as an outstanding recruiter and credited with bringing-in Jack Harbaugh (father of John, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and Jim, head coach at the University of Michigan) and Ron Blackledge (father of Todd, a star at Penn State). Dayton-based team members Ed Phillips, Bob Colburn, and Bob Zimpher, and all other players on the 1959 Championship Team were all inducted into the Bowling Green Hall of Fame.

Bill moved on to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York as the offensive line coach and coordinator under the famous Coach Earl "Red" Blaik. Bill was instrumental in developing Army's "Lonesome End Offense" and helped lead the 1958 team to an undefeated season and third place national ranking. Some of the outstanding players on the 1958 team were Pete Dawkins (Heisman Trophy winner and Rhodes Scholar), Bob Anderson (All-American halfback), Bill Carpenter (the "Lonesome End" All-American), and Bob Novogratz (hailed the nation's outstanding lineman and All-American).

Following his three years at West Point, Bill became the defensive coordinator at The Ohio State University under Coach Woody Hayes and alongside a lifelong friend, fellow Miami University lineman, and future University of Michigan head football coach Bo Schembechler. As Hayes's first defensive coordinator during his tenure at Ohio State, Bill played a pivotal role in the Buckeyes 8-0-1 1961 national championship winning team by installing the formidable Army defensive formation "The Offset 5-4". He coached great players including Daryl Sanders and Bob Vogel (first round draft choices), Paul Warfield (All-American), Bob Ferguson, Gary Moeller, Dave Tingley, Billy Joe Armstrong, Bill Mrukowski, John Mummy, and many others. Bill claimed that Billy Joe Armstrong was the best two-way football player he ever coached. After returning to Ohio State for the 1962 season, Bill decided to leave coaching in February 1963. He often reminisced fondly about his days on the gridiron, the lives he touched, and the wonderful group of friends that he had the good fortune to meet as a player and a coach. He was particularly proud of having the privilege of coaching three undefeated teams and working with four coaches who ultimately were inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame.

In March of 1963, Bill embarked on a career in real estate appraisal, which began at the Cole-Layer-Trumble Company (CLT) in Dayton, Ohio. After several years learning the appraisal business from his mentor John Cole, in 1970 Bill became CLT's president. Following CLT's merger with American Appraisal Company, the combined company went public. Bill departed the combined company to start his own full-service appraisal services and data processing company, Sabre Systems and Service, Inc. Through Bill's leadership, Sabre pioneered the development of a computer assisted appraisal program called Sabre Market Data Analysis (SMDA), as well as many other software programs that were used by local governments. Sabre grew rapidly to become a leader in the appraisal industry and was acquired in 1989 by a New York Stock Exchange-listed company. Bill noted often that his time as a business owner was the most exciting and rewarding period of his professional career. He thrived on competition, whether it came on the football field or in the boardroom.

Beginning in 1985 and continuing until 2000, Bill returned to his rural roots, where he owned and managed a 5000-acre farming operation near his childhood home in Chillicothe, Ohio. The farm grew grain and raised registered Polled Hereford beef cattle and registered American Quarter Horses for cutting events. Bill enjoyed plowing his fields on his prized John Deere tractors and hauling grain to market with his semi-trailer truck. He also took time for long contemplative horseback rides with his son Brad along the scenic banks of the Scioto River.

In 2000, Bill sold his farm in Chillicothe and replaced it with a 700-acre ranch in Jacksboro, Texas where he and Sandy continued their horse breeding operation with the highly successful breeding stallion SR Instant Choice. While in Texas, Bill helped Sandy restore their home, a historic 1860s Victorian home in Jacksboro, and he became quite adept at trapping wild boar, clearing mesquite trees, and building ponds (called "tanks" in Texas) on his property with his Caterpillar D6R bulldozer, a machine that was very much near to·his heart. Bill's affinity for his bulldozer was no surprise to those who knew him. He once summed-up his interest in all things mechanical with the statement, "If it has an engine, I like it".

True to his maxim, Bill also enjoyed riding motorcycles and snowmobiles with his boys at the northern Michigan cottage "Pine Stump", driving speed boats, sports cars, and flying airplanes. Bill held a multi-engine instrument rated pilots license for over 30 years and clocked over 5,000 hours in his own Beechcraft King Air.

Bill's professional successes cultivated a deep commitment to giving back to the institutions that had helped to shape him throughout his life. At Miami University, Bill formerly served as a member of the Board of Trustees, was a member of the Prodesse Society, and was inducted into Miami University's Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also a member of The Ohio State University's President's Club and the Canfield Society, a life member of the National College Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, trustee emeritus of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, a member of the Foundation Board for the Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, a life member of the American Quarter Horse Association and the National Cutting Horse Association, the Former Texas Rangers Foundation, and the National Rifle Association, and a member of the association of Ohio Commodores, Moraine Country Club, the Dayton Agonis Club, and a former member of the Dayton Bicycle Club.

Throughout his life, Bill was a generous supporter of his churches, Far Hills Baptist Church under Dr. Kenneth Mahanes and Fairhaven Church under Dr. David Smith. He also supported the Dayton arts community, including the Victoria Theatre, the Dayton Art Institute, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, The Schuster Performing Arts Center, and the Dayton History Museum and Carillon Historic Park. Just recently, Bill was inducted into the Chillicothe High School Hall of Fame. Bill's enthusiasm for life and his vibrant spirit will be forever in the hearts of his family and friends. He will be a Miami "Redskin" "as long as the wind blows". He will be greatly missed. God Bless and Rest in Peace.

A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 13 at Fairhaven Church, 637 E Whipp Rd, Centerville officiated by Pastor David Smith and will be followed by burial at David's Cemetery. After the burial, family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Life reception at the Moraine County Club. Funeral preparations will be handled by Routsong Funeral Home, Kettering. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Fairhaven Church or Miami University's Athletic Red and White Club. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be made at www.routsong.com.

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Saturday, January 13, 2024

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