“To teach is to touch a life forever” and Robin Gunning touched the lives of hundreds of Prior Lake-Savage students and staff.
Longtime PLSAS educator Robin Gunning passed away the morning of Nov. 16. The loss of a colleague, mentor and friend was felt widely throughout the district.
Gunning was a PLSAS staff member for 26 years before her retirement in 2016. Her career in the district first began in 1990 when she took the position of media specialist at Grainwood Elementary School. In 2003, she became the media specialist for Prior Lake High School where she remained until her retirement. She also previously served as president of the Prior Lake-Savage Education Association.
With Gunning as the lead, libraries became the heart of the school buildings she worked for.
“When I think of Robin I think of the warmth she provided in that media center for all,” her coworker and friend Gloria Warner said.
Gunning was resourceful and could always help you find the perfect book, accepting of all, and dedicated to her students and community, her colleagues said.
“She was just a good friend to everybody, that big welcoming smile that every school and business needs, she was that person,” PLSAS teacher Alan Andersen said.
During her time in the school district Gunning became not just a coworker but a close friend to many. She and a group of educators from Grainwood formed a special bond and spent much of their free time together over the years. The women deemed themselves “The Cabin Girls” and made sure to plan a getaway together yearly.
Apart from being an educator and avid reader, Gunning was a lover of Elvis Presley and had an extensive collection of his memorabilia. She was a wonderful cook and baker, enjoyed traveling and loved spending time with her grandchildren.
She was a “Norwegian through and through” and could often be heard uttering “Uff da,” her close friend Barb Baldwin said.
Personable, supportive, kind, warm and always up for a good time are a few of the ways Gunning’s infectious personality was described by those that knew her.
“She touched the lives of a lot of people throughout the years. She was one of a kind,” Baldwin said.
In a previous article on Gunning’s retirement she had this to say about her time as an educator:
“I have always felt my being a media specialist gave me the best opportunities to get to know and help students and staff,” she said. “When I was at Grainwood Elementary School, I saw every student at least once a week allowing me to get to know them. At the high school, I see a variety of students every day. Over my career, the students have provided me with lots of laughs, challenges and sometimes tears. I will really miss working with them. I have also formed many lifelong friendships and acquaintances with the people I have worked with. They are gifts I will take with me.”
Gunning will be thought of with the turning of book pages, in the rolling of lefse, in the melodies of Elvis Presley songs and remembered in the hearts of many.