Wilbur (Spike) Antone Gunderson – The Santa Barbara Independent


Spike’s signature smile, infectious laugh, and slender gestures will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Spike was born in Portland, Oregon. Her parents, Wilbur Antone Sr. and Violet Marie Gunderson were from Portland and proud of that fact. Wilbur – who was given the playful nickname ‘Spike’ at the age of four by his father, lived up to every letter of his character – he was the younger of their two boys.

In early 1948, Spike’s parents were encouraged by the children’s doctor to move their boys to a warmer climate and planned their trek along the West Coast. They were delighted to discover Santa Barbara, a quiet little town, but a culturally rich beach town steeped in history. Before the end of the year, they had made it their home.

Spike attended Harding Elementary School and La Cumbre Junior High, then graduated from Santa Barbara High in 1962. Growing up in Santa Barbara provided a unique latitude for Spike and his friends. A childhood that leaves many stories reminiscent of Tom Sawyer, and to this day, told best by the siblings who shared it.

Growing up on the Westside, Spike and his friends became close to Hendry’s and Ledbetter Beach. Cramming into Violet’s Corvair with a friend or two, she’d ferry them to the beach for the afternoon. During Spike’s teenage years, his introduction to surfing ignited a spark in him, and immediately the old canvas rafts gave way to this new sport.

Surfing offered him solace at a time when his father, Wilbur Sr., died of a short illness at the age of 44. Spike was only 17 at the time and the loss of his father had a profound effect on him. Throughout his life, Spike has spoken enthusiastically of the memories and wisdoms of those years they shared together.

Shortly after graduating from high school, he left with a friend to sail in the Bahamas for six months. Spike and his buddy got their fill of lobster to the point where neither feasted on the other for many years. Upon returning to SB, he began an apprenticeship program in sheet metal trades at SB City College. He married his first wife, Linda Bowman, in 1965. Within a few years, they were happily raising their two daughters, Staci and Jenny.

The Channel Islands kept the adventure alive for Spike. In early 1977 he teamed up with a good friend to have a 24ft Radon built and they named it “Escape”. Weather permitting, the Channel Islands have become their weekend entertainment to dive, fish and fish some more. Many ocean tales from those years are fondly remembered.

As Spike gained experience in his craft, his thirst to grow in it also increased. He worked for RP Richards until the early 1980s while beginning the process of obtaining a license to become a general contractor. In 1983 the family business Channel Islands Construction was founded. His niche and a long successful career began and continued until 2017. Spike has always been known to be ethical, loyal and a man of his word.

Golf was another activity he enjoyed throughout his life. He played weekly with childhood friends in local classes. Spike recorded a hole-in-one on #6 at Sandpiper GC at the age of 75! He accomplished this while dealing with advanced dementia. His spirit for the game and competition never wavered.

Spike shared 28 devoted years with his second wife, Susie. They married in 2003 in the family-hunted Hawaiian Islands. Throughout their years together, outdoor adventures from the summit of the Pacific Northwest to the beautiful Sea of ​​Cortez in Baja Sur have created heartfelt memories.

Spike would be the first to share the wonderful life he lived. His huge warm smile that accompanied his keen sense of humor is remembered by all who knew him. Spike adored his family, his friends and especially his wife Susie. The level of love, support, compassion and comfort she provided to him lasted throughout his life and was never more evident than during his final stage of illness. Susie was honored to be at Spike’s side when he passed away peacefully.

A celebration of life will be held October 8 at Tuckers Grove, Zone 5, from noon to 4 p.m. Please RSVP to [email protected]


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