Herman Gundlach Fund

In Memory of Herman “Winks” Gundlach

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“He was probably the most patient, understanding, and honest person I have ever known.”

– Paul Frair, former Vice President and lifelong friend


“I always was amazed at the way he gives credit to other people for the success of his company.”

– Brad Carrigan, representing the Associated General Contractors of America, about Herman “Winks” Gundlach Jr.

From captain of the Houghton High School and Harvard University football teams to a captain of industry, Herman “Winks” Gundlach Jr. was a man of many passions. From 1946 until he retired in 1988, his Gundlach Construction company built many of the major structures in the Upper Peninsula. A humble man, Winks gave credit for many of his accomplishments to others. He revered the tradesmen of the area, and Winks stayed up late looking over his payroll, knowing that these names didn’t just represent employees, but local families.

Besides being a successful businessman, he was a prominent activist. Upon his death at age 91 in 2005, instructions were laid out about how to continue his legacy of giving back to the community he grew up in and worked in. Through the Herman Gundlach Fund, Winks continues to leave his mark on the community For Good. For Ever.


Even with his passing, Winks wanted people to know he’s still here for them. Based on these recent thank you letters to the Herman Gundlach Fund, it’s safe to say his generous spirit remains with us still.

As he said at a Houghton High School Commencement, he believed in “the collective efforts of all of us” to resolve conflicts, “to live and act with a social conscience, according to a rigorous affirmation of the rights of all to an improved quality of life.” He concluded, “Go for it. Go for that.”


Winks championed the cause of end-of-life dignity and autonomy—with hospice and palliative care as well as the “Living Will”, or Advanced Care Directive. With funds from the Herman Gundlach Fund, KCF recently partnered with Omega House to promote Advance Care Planning (ACP) by providing and distributing ACP resources for the general public and health care providers in the community.

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