Skiing 01

Gunter Mahler

March 25, 1938 ~ March 25, 2020 (age 82)


“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill.  Our antagonist is our helper” – Edwin Burke.

Lift a glass of good German Beer in a send off to Gunter (Karl-Heinz Fritz Fredrich Wilhelm Heinrich) Mahler.  Born in Osnabruck, Germany in 1938 to Henrich and Mina Mahler, Karl was a Master antagonist to those he loved the most and lived his life with few regrets. 

As a child of WWII, one of Karl ’s earliest impressions of the United States included a memory of American soldiers who offered him and other children chocolate bars as they traveled through his town.  After the war, he and his 3 brothers spent their growing years in Germany where Karl enjoyed school, studying Art and competing in Bicycle Racing.

In 1955, his uncle in Muscatine, Iowa offered to sponsor him for an opportunity to have a better life than the one he saw for him in Germany.  Karl came to the America in 1956 through Ellis Island with $25 dollars in his pocket. 

Ironically, six months after his arrival in America, he was drafted in the U.S Army where he served in Europe as a German translator.  After fulfilling his military duty he returned to Muscatine and enrolled in an Art Class where he met his wife to be Mari Rutherford.

In 1961 he became a citizen of the United States.  He married Mari in 1962 and they relocated to Davenport.  In 1963 he became a father for the first time with his son Eric, followed by the birth of his daughter Adrianne in 1967.  Shortly thereafter, he started his business in Painting and Interior Design.

Before his retirement, Karl completed many ceiling restoration projects for which he was recognized including the Capital Theatre and the library in the Velie Mansion along with dozens of personal art works and design projects he completed for local Quad City businesses.  Beyond his work and the pride he had in his family, he enjoyed hunting, libations, fishing, libations, snow skiing with the Sitzmacher Ski Club, libations, competing in chess, libations, traveling with friends and perfecting his skills for antagonizing those closest to him. 

The loss of his brothers in Germany and the death of his close friends, made his world a little emptier. And with a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease in 2009 his health gradually declined.  Karl found joy in the time he spent with his grandchildren extended family and neighbors, watching Soccer on television and being entertained by “Easy” his loyal dog companion.  Karl passed away on his birthday at the age of 82.

Family members that carry on his memories include his wife Mari, Eric (Son) and Katherine Mahler, Adrianne VanSpeybroeck (Daughter) and grandchildren Gabrielle, Christian, Carissa, Alexandra and August.  Cremation has been accorded with his remains going back to his family’s gravesite in Germany. There will be a private Family gathering at a later date.  

The family asks that an act of kindness or expression of caring be offered to the Parkinson Foundation or The Humane Society.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gunter Mahler, please visit our floral store.


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