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Mary Ella Bunting

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PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Mary Ella Bunting, 83, of Kalispell, Mont., formerly of Quincy and Pittsfield, died at 9:55 a.m. Friday, March 8, 2013, in the Kalispell Regional Center in Kalispell.

Mary Ella Bunting was born April 7, 1929, in St. Louis. She was the second daughter of Rex Raines Bailey and Ella Dorothea Nielsen Bailey. Soon after that time, the family moved to Quincy which was home until her marriage. The family moved to a farm, "The Pines" near Payson, in 1933, where she attended a one-room country school, Craigtown School, from the first through eighth grade.

In 1942, the family moved back to Quincy. Mary was graduated from Quincy Senior High School in 1946. By that time, singing was dominant in her life and she attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music for two years. She was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1951 with a bachelor of music with majors in voice and languages. She was honored with a membership in the Phi Beta Kappa scholastic fraternity.

On July 12, 1952, she married Thomas Carl Bunting in the First Union Congregational Church in Quincy. They moved to Chicago while her husband finished medical school in 1954, then to St. Paul, Minn., the same year. They moved to Spokane, Wash., in 1956. After two years in the U. S. Air Force, Tom opened his medical practice in Pittsfield in 1958.

Music, flowers and raising three sons became her priorities. In 1961 she became a member of the PEO Sisterhood, Chapter CD of Pittsfield, serving in various offices and eventually as president. She marked her 50-year membership anniversary on May 5, 2012.

Mary was a member of the Quincy Symphony Chorus for many years and was an active member of the Pittsfield Theatre Guild, serving as vocal director, president, and performing in "Fiddler on the Roof," "Carousel," "Sound of Music," "Quilters" and others. Mary was choir director of the First Christian Church in Pittsfield for many years.

In 1970, she discovered the world of archaeology and became involved in the Center for American Archeology (CAA) in Kampsville. Many years of digging at Illinois River sites and a special trip to the Four Corners area in the Southwest were enjoyed. Eventually, she and Tom became board members of the center and experienced a special trip to visit archaeological sites in Egypt in 1982 sponsored by the center.

After moving to their new home at Hickory Ridge Farm on the Nebo Road near Pittsfield and after Tom's retirement, they developed a llama business. Mary was in charge of training, grooming and showing the llamas and Tom the business and health of the animals. Many wonderful hours were spent from 1987 to 1995 helping 4-H youngsters and participating in state fairs in this endeavor. Because of health issues in 1995, a move was made to Green Valley, Ariz. Mary demitted to the PEO Chapter CI where she was a very involved member and officer.

The active Genealogy Club in Green Valley was of special interest to Mary in 1998 as she became the Bunting/Bailey family historian and loved visiting family sites. Trips to Germany to investigate Tom's family and to Denmark and Sweden to visit cousins and her family sites were especially fascinating. She enjoyed getting the family together and especially cherished the grandchildren's visits to her Green Valley home. She was a member of the Valley Presbyterian Church choir member.

Survivors include her husband, Dr. Thomas C. Bunting; three sons, Thomas Calvert Bunting and his wife, Susan E. (Potter), of Ruckersville, Va., Dr. Stephen Charles A.D. Bunting and wife, Susan M. (Rybak), of Hinsdale and Jeffrey Rex Bunting and his wife, Carol Ann (Hess), of Kalispell; five grandchildren, Salena Marie (Bunting) Adams of Kalispell, Stephanie Metzger of Sarasota, Fla., Thomas Potter Bunting of Ruckersville, Rachel Elizabeth and Ian Alexander Bunting of Hinsdale; two great-grandchildren, Paige Elizabeth Adams and Daniel Thomas Adams of Kalispell; two sisters, Caryl Jeanne Tasker of Portland, Ore., and Phyllis Rae (Ronald R.) Regnier of Phoenix, Ariz.; and nieces and nephews, Margaret "Peg" Tasker of Portland, Douglas Tasker (wife Blanca) of Trinidad, Kimberly Jongerius (Joel) of Orange City, Iowa, Rex Regnier (wife Sherry) of Clovis, N.M., Douglas Kluender of Utah and Dan and Steve Kluender of Washington.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Rex R. and Ella D. Bailey; a grandson, Bailey Adam Bunting, a son of Jeffrey R. and Carol Ann Bunting; a brother-in-law, Stanley S. D. Tasker; and a brother, Eugene Kluender and his wife, Georgia.

SERVICES: Memorial services will be held a later date in the First Christian Church in Pittsfield. Burial will be in the Pittsfield West Cemetery, West Garden. Cremation rites have been accorded.

MEMORIALS: Center for American Archaeology of Kampsville, Ill.; the Crossroads Center of the First Christian Church of Pittsfield; or Pike County Historical Society.

ARRANGEMENTS: Niebur Funeral Home, Pittsfield.

Published in Quincy Herald-Whig from Mar. 24 to Mar. 26, 2013
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