ForeverMissed

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Erich Gunther, 57, born on December 14, 1958 and passed away on June 18, 2016. We will remember him forever.

Posted by Phil Davis on June 18, 2019
The value of a life's work is measured in the hearts of the people left behind. Erich truly was a wealthy man.
Posted by Kirk Graves on December 14, 2017
Today Erich would have turned 59. It still doesn't seem real at times. He is missed by family, friends, and colleagues for years to come. Happy Birthday Erich!
Posted by Steve Widergren on June 21, 2017
Time makes Erich's contributions and character all the more richer. Live on.
Posted by Sharon Allan on June 19, 2017
It has been year and the profound effect from your absence is still felt.
Posted by Michael Marullo on June 19, 2017
A year has already gone by since Erich's passing, yet that is a relatively small amount of time to fill the very large footprint he left behind. All we can do is persevere, just as Erich would have wanted us to do...
Posted by Allison Eckelkamp on July 14, 2016
As the industry still comes to grips with losing a friend, colleague, and industry trailblazer, we can feel confident that his legacy will never be forgotten. To honor his contributions and empower young minds, the IEEE Foundation has set up an Erich Gunther Memorial Fund. Supporting this fund helps future power professionals and ambitious students, who are pushing the boundaries of current thought to make our industry better. Electricity drives our world. Together, we will create an even more brilliant future. If you'd like to honor Erich's legacy by contributing to this fund, you may do so at: https://ieeefoundation.org/erichgunther.
Posted by Terry Oliver on July 9, 2016
The combination of deeply knowledgeable and open minded is rare. Even more rare, Erich engaged at every opportunity and with anyone interested in making the grid better. He was happy to follow a wild goose chase or two in discovering an elegant solution; and then helped get the solution out for use.
Posted by Steve Widergren on July 7, 2016
His light it shown so bright on those of us
Who moved beyond the shade to free new thoughts
Where walls would pause a ray to penetrate
Hold high reason and burst forth energy
In truth he bathed to wrap our lives with joy.
Posted by Mark Knight on July 6, 2016
After two weeks I still don't know what I want to say. I am still deeply saddened by Erich's untimely departure from this world but very privileged to have known him. Despite his encyclopedic knowledge of all things I think what I will remember (and miss) the most is Erich's infectious enthusiasm and irrepressible desire to make the world a better place and the way he always made me feel welcome and was always ready to listen to my views and the views of others.
Posted by Sharon Allan on July 1, 2016
This is a copy of an email I received from Japan Smart Community Alliance and am posting here on their behalf.


Dear Friends,

We are all deeply shocked to hear of the sudden loss of Mr. Erich Gunther and we would like to extend our deepest sympathy on behalf of Japan Smart Community Alliance.

Very sincerely yours,

Makoto WATANABE
Secretary General
JSCA Secretariat
Posted by Ram Adapa on June 30, 2016
It was shocking to hear that Erich passed away suddenly. I knew Erich for the past 30 years. We both worked at McGraw Edison sharing the same office in the late eighties. He has contributed a lot to the power industry and will be remembered forever. May his soul rest in peace.
Posted by Jason Handley on June 29, 2016
Erich,

I so enjoyed just getting to know you and will forever miss your unique outlook on this industry that you so loved. You taught me something new every time we talked and I truly looked at you as a visionary for the work you did. 

My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Posted by David Cohen on June 29, 2016
Erich was an amazing person and he contributed so much to the SmartGrid vision. I met Erich when we founded the GridWise Architecture Council and spent many evenings in places all over the country listening to Erich tell stories of making his own Spirits. I tip my glass you you Erich. You were such an inspiration to work with and you always be in my memory. Dave
Posted by Shrinath Eswarahally on June 29, 2016
I met Erich 6 years back during SGIP CSWG meetings. He was very dynamic person and was encouraging us to work on cybersecurity. He shared lot of his experience in power industry for me to understand the smart grid.
Erich, we miss you.
Posted by David Katz on June 29, 2016
It is with deep sorrow I learned about Erich's passing as he was always kind and receptive to the many questions I would pose at the many events on Smart Grid we attended. He clearly made a significant contribution to GWAC, SGIP, IEEE, and other organizations. May we keep his passion in mind as we develop the Smart Grid he envisioned across all three countries of US, Canada and Mexico. It is fitting they are signing an agreement today to have 50% renewables by 2025.
Posted by Dave Watson on June 29, 2016
A true pioneer, an inspiration and a friend! He could always explain the most complex topics in a concise, effective way. I recently showed my teenage son some of Erich's online presentations. What better way to inspire an aspiring engineer?

Erich's impact is immense! As individuals who knew him and for every inhabitant of Earth, present and future, we are better off because of Erich! 

Though it is a small token of recognition, if we can try to estimate Erich's impact on the electric grid efficiency, microgrids, DER, et al., I'd be glad to lead a push to get quantity of "Rosenfelds" awarded to him through DoE/National Lab system. A "Rosenfeld" is a unit of energy efficiency, equal to electricity savings of 3 billion kilowatt-hours per year.
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2010/03/09/the-rosenfeld-unit-of-energy-efficiency/

My thoughts and prayers are with Erich's family and friends.
Posted by Srini Krishnamurthy on June 29, 2016
My sincere condolences on the untimely demise of Erich, a friend and a passionate leader for all things smart grid. I had the honor of working with Erich since the early days of GridWise Council and had many exciting and compelling insights from Erich, in maturing the conversations around smart grid into far-reaching initiatives. Will surely miss his affable and gentle demeanor in all forums and events. Erich will surely be the missing voice in the room that binds all ideas into actionable outcomes.

May his soul rest in peace.

Srini
Posted by Perry Pederson on June 29, 2016
I will always remember his insight and calm vision as he pushed an entire industry forward.
Posted by Stuart McCafferty on June 28, 2016
Erich was a brilliant visionary and engineer. He was also a pilot, a brewer, an experimental ethanol manufacturing scientist, a sports car enthusiast, a writer and speaker, and barbeque expert. He was also a loving husband and friend to everyone he met. I was lucky enough to see all of these sides of Erich and considered him one of my very best friends. I know many did. That was Erich. He never said a bad word about anyone, never got mad (no matter how hard you tried!), and he always saw the good in people and situations - and he was usually right.

I have seen Erich on 3 simultaneous conference calls while answering emails - many times, in fact. Everyone wanted a piece of him - and he was happy to give it to them. He couldn't say no. And, he engaged in everything he did with the best of intentions and an energy that made all of us watch in wonder.

We all lost a dear friend. It isn't right and it makes no sense at all. There is a real emptiness that is hard to believe or accept. We are going to miss you. Safe travels, my friend.
Posted by Bob Saint on June 28, 2016
It was a great privilege and honor to work with Erich on so many projects and endeavors over the years. His enthusiastic, positive and professional approach to everything from making beer to promoting smart grid interoperability was an inspiration to us all. If you wanted a concise and understandable explanation to a complex topic, just ask Erich.  He will be greatly missed. Condolences do to his family and colleagues.
Posted by Michael Marullo on June 27, 2016
Erich was a friend and in many ways, a kindred spirit when it came to utility automation. He was a person who was always ready to pitch in and help, whether it was to offer advice and counsel, discuss new ideas and concepts or share his knowledge and insights at an industry event. Above all, Erich could always be relied upon to help us understand things better and sometimes, in ways we never would have -- or could have -- without his unique perspective. He will be missed in more ways than anyone can imagine. Rest in peace, my friend...
Posted by Christopher Irwin on June 27, 2016
My friend Erich Gunther died last Saturday, and I promised myself to lift my attention from my myriad tasks and distractions to write a few words about him. He wasn’t my friend of decades, or of daily or even weekly contact, but I consider him my friend just the same. Another thing: when I say “myriad” referring to the many things I’m involved in, irons in the fire and all that, it isn’t jack compared to what Erich would consider myriad. 

The man was amazingly engaged: on dimensions of time, space and technical depth in so many forums that it makes me dizzy to contemplate them all. I smile a bit thinking about the number of organizations, standards groups, thought leadership circles, national and international conferences, issue forums, and commercial and government confidants writing in remembrance about Erich’s leadership, personal touch, and critical role he played in helping them understand and navigate their own complex landscape. If we printed them all out, I expect the stack would rival the three-foot-high one he often cited that comprised the important parts of the standard for the USB port - that paragon of interoperability that makes “plug and play” understandable. 

I was walking near the beach with my wife and two daughters Monday night, and was treated to the sight of a beautiful yellowish full moon rising over the ocean, still low in the sky and creating a path of light on the water. That led me of course to thinking of the word moonshine, which of course led me to think of Erich. For all I know he made it as biofuel for his aircraft hobby, but it tasted good too! (Apple pie scented contrails??) Anyway, I got a bit sadder thinking that he was no longer alive to see such a sight, but chances are he would not have been looking at the moon. He would be at some late evening meeting, some large communal dinner, some gathering being part of a vibrant exchange of ideas. Erich, an architect of many things, was an architect of salon culture in our world, an essential ingredient to any human endeavor some laptop-at-night-in-the-hotel-room people should try. Wikipedia states: “A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation….Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, were carried on until as recently as the 1940s in urban settings.” As an instigator or as a participant, Erich was a man in his element in these settings, and my fondest memories of him are from times like these. 

I thought momentarily of ways we remember people we respect, and briefly imagined “The Erich Gunther Award”. Yes, The Erich Gunther Award would be bestowed each year upon the individual who best embodied Erich’s work ethic, tireless dedication, intellect, technological know-how and expert grasp of the human dynamic in advancing energy systems the world over. The problem is, I’m not sure anyone could win it…ever. When I heard about Erich’s passing and the shock and personal tragedy worked their way through my mind, one of my next (slightly ashamed) thoughts was, how are we going to replace him? We can’t – not for a long while – it will take a dozen or more people to fill those voids from a professional standpoint, and it won’t be the same. When a very large tree in a forest falls, it isn’t “replaced”. Other smaller trees fill the space and the forest moves on, but if that was one of your favorite trees, you’ll know where it once stood every time you walk by. I will miss my friend Erich Gunther.
Posted by Mike Beehler on June 27, 2016
So sad to hear of Erich's untimely passing......may God grant his friends and family "the peace that passes understanding"
Posted by Eric Lambert on June 27, 2016
Erich

I have great admiration for your vision, work and leadership.
Thoughts to your relatives.
Eric
Posted by Ramesh Reddi on June 27, 2016
Erich,
 
I was shocked to hear this news. Thank you so much for your mentorship in my advancements in the field of cyber security in the energy and utilities sectors. I will be missing you.
 
The smart grid field and its members globally are indebted to you for the commitment you had made to the advancement of the field. It will be very hard to fill this vacuum.
 
I pray God to make Your Soul Rest in Peace.
 
Ramesh
Posted by Mark McGranaghan on June 27, 2016
I owe so much to Erich, both professionally and personally. He died before I could find something that he couldn't do (I thought it was darts but he figured that out as well). His energy, positive attitude, love of life and continuous innovation that was one step ahead of everyone have left the world a much better place.

Mark
Posted by Reji Kumar Pillai on June 25, 2016
Erich, though we met at several events during the last few years we could never spend personal time. I always planned to invite you to India for one of our events which could not happen and now will not happen. So sad to hear about your sad demise. Our prayers with your family, colleagues and friends. RIP.
Posted by Dalibor Kladar on June 24, 2016
Erich,

We have great admiration for your vision, work and leadership.

Your vision's followers from Calgary, Canada

Dalibor (Dali) Kladar
Kladar Virtual Automation
Aspecto Canada
Posted by Tim Morgan on June 24, 2016
Thank you Erich for your foresight, your passion and vigor for our industry in helping promote interoperability for the electrical grid. Your efforts will always be remembered by your industry peers and appreciated for generations to come. May God bless you and comfort your family.
Posted by Rebecca Kelly on June 24, 2016
Erich,
Your legacy will continue and your passion will be remembered by each and all of us.
Posted by Cristina Cervantes on June 24, 2016
It was clear to see that Erich was a man of many talents, had a true passion for his work, and showed a positive outlook on life and in people. I am truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to work for such an inspirational man who showed what dedication and passion can do. I am honored to have known Erich Gunther.
Posted by Grant Gilchrist on June 24, 2016
Erich had so much energy he sometimes seemed to be three people at once, and he made it clear that he loved everything he did, whether it was changing the power industry or enjoying a good glass of wine. Unlike many visionaries, he always came across as "just another guy" and had a knack for making game-changing ideas seem like common sense. Thank you, Erich, for everything you taught us.
Posted by Phil Davis on June 24, 2016
Erich was a main pillar of our community; and both professionally and personally an inspiration. For years I served on the board of a charity for medically fragile children, and Angel Flight was a Godsend for so many of our kids. Perhaps this is an area where Erich stands tallest.

My professional career was all about leading edge ideas, and Erich was very effective at shooting them down... then there would be a "But ya know..." and brilliance would ensue. Erich was all about unifying his community and helping all to understand and advance. He could represent so many points of view so ably and build a consensus path forward. It is no wonder that he held so many prestigious offices and that Enernex is (and will remain) so highly regarded.

Raising a Gunther Beer in memory of a legend I was privileged to call friend.
Posted by Ben Boyd on June 24, 2016
Erich,
It was a cold rainy evening in Chicago when we rode the train to O'Hare together. We talked about the differences in working for a vendor and being a consultant. I said "I think I would like to try it from your side of the podium." You said, you might be able to arrange it. The rest is history. We tried to persuade state commissions to prepare for the world of interoperability and we succeeded in raising awareness. Neither of us knew how long the process would take. Sorry EnerNex ran out of time and resources to continue the project. It wasn't your fault. Be at peace, my friend. You will always be remembered.
Posted by Kirk Graves on June 24, 2016
I have never met anyone like Erich Gunther before. It was hard to imagine that someone that was so brilliant had such energy and personality. Over the 6+ years that I worked with Erich on a daily basis, I became to realize he was truly a unique person who had the ability to relate to people from all walks of life. He truly wanted people to be a part of everything that he was doing, from inspiring and visionary thinking to just hanging out and enjoying the hobbies that he loved. God directs our paths, and I am so grateful to God that he led me down the path that included Erich Gunther. Mr. Gunther, everything about you has had a significant impact on my life and I am honored to have been a part of it all. God gives us people for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Erich will have an impact for a lifetime.
Posted by Roger Levy on June 24, 2016
I met Erich in the mid 1980's when he was doing a coding project for a small firm in California. Being confined to a desk was not in his demeanor. However, it didn't take long for him to develop the very clear thinking and communication skills that distinguished him throughout his career. Our professional paths crossed many times and I was fortunate to bring him into another of my projects several times in 2011 and 2012. 
Rest easy my friend.
Posted by Michael Burr on June 24, 2016
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Erich. He was a bright light in everything he did. He will be missed. Peace to all who knew and loved him.
Posted by Sharon Allan on June 23, 2016
Erich,

Your work, life, and friendship touched so many. You will be forever missed.  We've created this site to honor you my friend as a recognition that you have left a legacy by impacting and imparting your wisdom, joy, and enthusiasm in all of us.

Psalms 94:19 When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
Posted by Terry Oliver on June 23, 2016
Erich's easy demeanor and technical competence combined to forge friendships and progress. His work made much of BPA's smart grid related R&D both possible and effective. I worried about him flying. It turned out to be the wrong worry. I miss you and we all miss you and we will collectively fulfill your dreams.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Phil Davis on June 18, 2019
The value of a life's work is measured in the hearts of the people left behind. Erich truly was a wealthy man.
Posted by Kirk Graves on December 14, 2017
Today Erich would have turned 59. It still doesn't seem real at times. He is missed by family, friends, and colleagues for years to come. Happy Birthday Erich!
Posted by Steve Widergren on June 21, 2017
Time makes Erich's contributions and character all the more richer. Live on.
Recent stories

NIST JUNE 2016 News Letter

Shared by Sharon Allan on June 29, 2016
Smart Grid Community Loses One of its Leaders, Erich Gunther (1958-2016)

 

The smart grid community was deeply saddened last week by the untimely death of one of its pioneers, Erich Gunther. 

 

“Erich was an exceptional talent, collaborator, and dear friend to me and many others at NIST,” said Dr. David Wollman, Deputy Director of NIST’s Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office. “Many of us, both on the NIST Smart Grid team and in the Community Resilience Program, had the great privilege of working closely with Erich in recent years.  He brought a rare combination of intelligence and passion—of head and heart—to his work, his hobbies, and, most of all, to the many communities he touched.  We offer our deepest condolences to his family, his friends, and his co-workers at Enernex.”

 

Among the many tributes appearing online last week, these two may be of special interest to the readers of this newsletter:

 

Sharon Allan, President of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), initiated an Erich Gunther memorial website at forevermissed.com, and many members of the smart grid community have been contributing their tributes, pictures, and stories.  NIST launched the SGIP as a public-private partnership in 2009, and Erich Gunther (and Enernex) played crucial roles in its formation, growth, and evolution. “Smart Grid Today” established a public link to a special issue remembering Erich Gunther.  The issue contains links to every story that was ever published with Erich Gunther’s name in it. (There are more than 50 stories, dating back to 2009.) “The stories are open to the public and offered in honor and celebration of his life as a true leader, visionary and mentor to the smart grid industry and the broader electricity industry.

News Story by GTM by Eric Wesoff

Shared by Sharon Allan on June 25, 2016

 Some sad news. Smart grid industry pioneer Erich Gunther passed away "unexpectedly on June 18 at the age of 57," according to a release from EnerNex, the company he co-founded and where he served as chairman and CTO.

It's shocking. Erich was a long-time friend of GTM. We were supposed to be seeing and hearing from him this week at our upcoming Grid Edge World Forum. He will be missed. But all of us in this industry share Erich Gunther's life's mission of advancing the modernization of the electrical grid.

The last discussion I had with him was about an article he wanted to write for GTM on potential new regulatory rules that would allow utilities to take bigger technology risks.

Gunther worked with some of the world’s largest utilities and vendors on "how to plan, architect, deploy, test and scale smart grids from end to end. He was part of the original team that developed EPRI’s IntelliGrid Architecture and helped oversee its development through its first major application at Southern California Edison for the utility’s AMI and Smart Grid programs."

According to EnerNex, "Gunther was a licensed private helicopter and instrument-rated fixed-wing airplane pilot and aircraft owner, as well as an accomplished home brewer and grill master."

He will be missed.