December 21st was a big day around here! It marked three very special events:
- Winter Solstice 2020. This day celebrates the rebirth of the sun and the beginning of winter. It is one of the oldest winter celebrations known. The winter solstice is the longest night and shortest day of the year.
- The Christmas Star. In case you missed it, this was a phenomenon not seen for nearly 800 years. Jupiter and Saturn came together in “a great conjunction” right in time for Christmas, NASA reported. It is also the same day as the winter solstice.
- Our active Gunter CEO and past president Norman Besheer’s birthday.
Gunter CEO Mr. Norman Besheer celebrated his 92nd birthday on December 21st, 2020, and this marked a milestone that will go down in history! Mr. Besheer is one of the very few 92-year-olds in Kansas City history to still show up for work every day. He took over his father-in-law’s pest control company in 1971 and became the 2nd generation of our 4th generation family-owned Kansas City business to run the company. His son, Jay Gunter Besheer, is our active president and took over the reins in 1998. Next month, Norman will celebrate his 50th work anniversary in 2021!
Below are a few memories highlighting top moments in Norman’s 92 years of life.
- 1928: Born in Independence, MO.
- 1941: Norman attended Central High School and grew up in Kansas City, MO.
- 1945: Norman’s family left for Houston, TX where his older brother was living. He insisted on staying in Kansas City and was on his own from age 16. His good friend found him a place to live at a boarding house on 34th and Benton Boulevard and a job working night at Hallmark Cards.
- 1946: After graduating from Central High School, Norman joined the US Marine Corps and spent about two years serving mainly on a Navy Cruiser, the USS Atlanta, CL-104 in the Marine Detachment.
- 1949: Norman married his wife of over 70 years, Patricia Gunter. While still in college and law school from 1950-1955, they had three children, Kimbrough, Christie, and Jay. In 1998, Norman’s son Jay would take over Gunter Pest as the 3rd generation president.
- 1950: Norman started Law School at the University of Missouri Kansas City Law School, completing his BA in 1953 and his law degree in 1955.
- 1955: Norman began practicing law.
Norman pictured above with father-in-law Reggie Gunter and son Jay at Jay’s Boy Scout camp in the 1960s. A few years later, Norman would change careers from law to pest control and take over his father-in-law’s pest control firm.
- 1971: After a 16-year career in law, Norman joined the family pest control business and took over Gunter Pest – his father-in-law’s company. He became the 2nd of four generations in the family to run the company. His son and now grandson have followed in his (and his father-in-law’s) footsteps.
Norman is pictured above with Harold, Gunter Pest’s very first employee. Harold began his career in 1962, and after an 18-year-career at Gunter, he retired in 1980.
- 2013: Norman nominated and then named honorary “Mayor of Waldo”, pictured with Kansas City Mayor Sly James.
- 2016: Norman inducted into the NPMA (National Pest Management Association) Hall of Fame.
- 2020: Norman turns 92 years old on December 21st.
- 2021: Norman Besheer will celebrate his 50th work anniversary with a career as Gunter CEO!