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Charles W. Gunter


Charles W. Gunter. That “by their fruits ye shall know them” is an aphorism that has been significantly exemplified in the record of Mr. Gunter as state agent for Oklahoma for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, and apropos of his record the following pertinent statements are worthy of perpetuation in this article: “The distinction of having risen to the head of a state agency for one of the largest and most important life insurance companies in the United States and in one year of a brief period of years having handled for his company a greater volume of business than any other of its state agents in the South and Southwest with but one exception, belongs to Charles W. Gunter, and this precedence was achieved by him while he was yet in his thirtieth year. This record is illustrative of the character, progressiveness and initiative ability of young business men from older states who are contributing to the commercial development and prestige of Oklahoma.” Mr. Gunter has been a resident of this state since 1909 and since 1910 has maintained his residence and business headquarters in Oklahoma City, as the energetic and valued incumbent of the responsible office designated in the initial sentence of this paragraph.
Mr. Gunter was born at LaGrange, Choctaw County, Mississippi, on the 6th of February, 1884, and is a representative of sterling families long and worthily identified with the history of the Southern states, his paternal great-grandfather, a native of Alabama, having been an early settler and influential citizen of the State of Mississippi, and his maternal Grandfather, George J. Givins, having been a pioneer in West Tennessee. Andrew Jackson Gunter and Sarah Elizabeth (Givens) Gunter, the parents of the subject of this sketch, now reside at Mathiston, Webster County, Mississippi, the father having previously been for many years a successful planter and representative citizen of Choctaw County, that state, and having now virtually retired from active business. The other surviving children are: John S., who is a substantial planter at Mathiston, Mississippi; Felix E., who is vice-president of the Merchants Bank & Trust Company at Jackson, the capital of that state; Mrs. William Lee Bell, whose husband is a planter near Mathiston, Webster County, Mississippi, and Mrs. Benjamin F. Bollis, wife of a prosperous planter in Choctaw County, that state, Mr. Bollis being a member of the Board of County Commissioners of that county.
After availing himself of the advantages of the public schools of his native state Charles W. Gunter completed a course in the Bennett Academy, in Northern Mississippi, and in initiating his independent career he assumed a position in the offices of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company at Jackson, Mississippi, where he continued in the service of this representative Pennsylvania insurance corporation until 1909, when he came to the new State of Oklahoma and became the company’s agent in the City of Ardmore, judicial center of Carter County. In the following year he was transferred to Oklahoma City, the capital and metropolis of the state, where he was placed in charge of the general agency for Oklahoma, the various branch offices in the state being consolidated with that at Oklahoma City.
When Mr. Gunter came to Oklahoma the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company had $1,000,000 of insurance in force in this state, and since that time, with the earnest and effective co-operation of his assistants in this field, the company has been enabled to underwrite an average insurance of about $2,000,000, annually in Oklahoma, his careful study and marked executive ability having been combined with enthusiasm in his work and having inspired the vigorous efforts of the sub-agents working under his direction to such a degree that the company now has in force in Oklahoma insurance to the aggregate of fully $6,500,000. In addition to this splendid showing under the administration of Mr. Gunter, the Oklahoma City general office of the company collected in 1914 $165,000 in premiums, the business of this state agency during that year having exceeded that of any other save one of the company’s general state offices in the South and Southwest, and the corps of local agents for the company in Oklahoma being now about 100 in number. Mr. Gunter is a member of the directorate of the Guaranty Bank of Oklahoma City and for two years was secretary of the Life Underwriters’ Association of Oklahoma, in which he is now chairman of the membership committee. In 1912 he was appointed by Governor Lee Cruce one of the delegates from Oklahoma to the Southern Commercial Congress held in the City of Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Gunter is most loyal and public-spirited as a citizen and is ever ready to lend his influence and co-operation in the furtherance of measures tending to advance the civic, moral, educational and material progress and well-being of the community. He is one of the alert and vigorous young business men of the capital city, where he is a valued member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma City Ad Club, and the Men’s Dinner Club, as well as the Country Club. He and his wife are zealous and influential members of St. Luke’s Church, Methodist Episcopal, South, in which he is serving as a steward and as superintendent of the Sunday school. He had I eon an active church worker in his native state, where he had held official position in this connection, as did he also after establishing his residence at Ardmore, Oklahoma. At Jackson, Mississippi, he gave effective aid in erection of the new building of the Young Men’s Christian Association, and he is now one of the zealous workers for the supplying of the local association in Oklahoma City with a building suitable to meet the demands, his energy as a promoter of this laudable enterprise being indefatigable. In his home city he is affiliated with Lodge No. 231 of the Knights of Pythias.
At Clinton, Louisiana, on the 20th of November, 1907, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Gunter to Miss Louise Currie, daughter of Edward Currie, who was for thirty years a representative merchant of that ’city. Mr. Currie and his wife now reside in Oklahoma City and it is worthy of note that in 1914 he led other local agents in the amount of business secured for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. Mr. and Mrs. Gunter have one child, Louise Currie, who was born in 1913.