Statesboro, GA Dennis G. Bunting passed peacefully Friday, May 24, 2013.
The native of East Alton, Ill. moved his family to Statesboro in 1977, when he became the General Manager of Grinnell Corporation. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Cleo and Wanda Bunting and his younger brother Mel Bunting.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Karban Bunting; one son, Bryce Bunting (Mandy); his niece, Lisa Simmons (Jim) who was like his daughter; three grandchildren, Crawford Simmons (CJ), Josh Bunting (JT) and Addison Simmons (Addi), all of whom live in Statesboro.
Also surviving him are nephews, Chris Bunting (Nicki) of Belleville, Ill., Lauren Bunting-Rose (Charlie) Alton, Ill., Bryan Petersen of Bozeman, Mont., and Stacy Petersen (Salt Lake City, Utah); as well as his Aunt LaDonna Arnold, and Aunt Vera Lou King both of Hillview Ill.
Dennis graduated with a BS Degree in Engineering and was the first engineering graduate of Milliken University in Decatur Ill. He was Vice President of Manufacturing for both Grinnell Corporation and Mueller Company, both subsidiaries of Tyco International. Dennis retired in 1999, and moved back to Statesboro from Malaysia where he managed a plant for Tyco.
He was an avid golfer, a gourmet cook but mostly he enjoyed spending time with his family and especially his three grandchildren. He was a long time Atlanta Braves fan, but since his oldest grandson was drafted by Kansas City, he and Karban became fans of the Royals and spent each of the last three years in Arizona watching CJ Pitch during Spring Training.
The family will receive friends Monday, May 27, 2013, at Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home from 5 to 7 p.m. The service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, at Pittman Park United Methodist Church with the Reverend Tim Steffen, assisted by the Reverend Jonathan Smith in the main sanctuary. The body will lie in state one hour prior to the service.
Interment will be in Bulloch Memorial Gardens.
Honorary Pallbearers will be the Senior Mens Golf Group at Forest Heights and all men attending the funeral are encouraged to feel free to wear their favorite golf shirt and slacks.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Pittman Park United Methodist Church at 1102 Fair RD, Statesboro, Georgia 30458 or Ogeechee Area Hospice at P O Box 531, Statesboro, Georgia, 30459.
In Memory of Dennis Bunting by Mike Waller
I first met Dennis in 1959, when we were freshmen at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. He had been recruited to be quarterback on the football team and I had been recruited as a basketball and baseball player.
The football coach, Don Shroyer, stressed that all freshmen needed to report by a certain date in August but Dennis, ever the independent soul, had other plans—taking a trip to California with a couple of high school buddies.
When he showed up late for football practice at Millikin, the coach ignored him and gave him little time to practice, even with the last team. After a week or so of this treatment, Dennis said enough is enough and quit, thus ending his brief college football career.
My basketball career didn’t last much longer, cut short by some erratic behavior fueled by some adult beverages that left the dormitory-Korean War barracks in which I and some football players lived looking like a war zone.
Dennis had joined the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and three months later I joined. We became roommates for most of the rest of our college years.
Both of us held night jobs, Dennis at the YMCA and me as a sports clerk at the Decatur Herald. We both got off work about midnight and usually spent the next few hours trying to drink beer faster than they made it. One of our favorite midnight trips was to Kincaid, Ill., riding with the middle linebacker-near lunatic Frank Biddle driving 100 miles per hour down the two-lane highway some 30 miles to Kincaid’s taverns that were open all night.
That we survived these trips was a mini-miracle. We even survived Dennis’ brief tenure as the owner of a small motorcycle. He hadn’t had it a school a week when, fueled by more than gasoline, with me riding and Dennis driving, we smashed into the fraternity’s garage door. That ended both our motorcycle careers.
Unlike me, Dennis was a terrific student, majoring in engeering (he was Millikin’s first engineering graduate). He was on the honor roll every semester and graduated with honors. He had only one blemish on his academic record, for which he blamed me. I talked him into taking a poetry class—an easy “A” I argued. It was at 8 a.m., a time that was impossible for either of us to show up. He didn’t even know I was in the class until about halfway through the year, the first time we both had showed up for the class. With such erratic attendance, Dennis got his only “C” in college.
While attending Millikin, Dennis met Karban, who lived in Decatur. We had many grand times together, often just the three of us going to drive-in movies, me watching the film and the two of them watching each other. Karban’s memory is likely different, possible recalling the many “beer-call” interruptions during the movie. I was the best man at their wedding in 1963 and over the years kept in touch.
Once they moved to Statesboro, Ga., in the 1970s, Karban tried to convince Dennis into taking up golf, but he refused. When I retired to Hilton Head Island in 2003, Dennis immediately took up the game, much to Karban’s chagrin. Dennis could have been a good golfer, but was loathe to practice or take a lesson (he took two in his entire life). He didn’t even bother to warm up when he played—“no since wasting swings,” he’d say.
Dennis was frugal all of his life, some might even say tight with a dollar. But if you needed help, he would give you the shirt off his back. Once, after remarrying, I needed $10,000 to pay off a debt. Dennis’ response? “Sure, just pay me back when you can.”
He was always fun to be around. We will miss him greatly. Thank God for memories.
Mike Waller is a former editor, retired publisher of the Baltimore Sun and trustee emeritus at Millikin.