Elizabeth Bunker

Service Information

11:00 am
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Buckingham Congregational Church
16 Cricket Lane
Glastonbury, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of Elizabeth Bunker

On Friday, October 12th 2012, Elizabeth Frances Cooper Bunker (Betty) passed away at the wonderful age of 92, surrounded by the love of her family and friends. Betty was born the middle child of lawyer Eugene F. Bunker and Mariam Cooper Bunker in Bozeman, MT on February 11, 1920. She was a descendant of Walter Cooper, who with Jim Bridger and John Bozeman were the original pioneers of that area. She remained a passionate, loving, devoted pioneer daughter her entire life. In 1942, she received a Bachelor of Arts in studio art and modern dance from Mills College in California. During her time at Mills, she had the opportunity to study modern dance technique and repertory with Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Hanya Holm, Aigne Entrees, and Martha Graham. Additionally, she studied with Louis Horst (dance composition), Darius Milhaud (music composition), Fernand Leger (painting) and Raymond Puccinelli (sculpture). She also performed with the Concert Dance and Touring Company of Marion Van Tuyl. She lobbied with a group from other colleges to have Modern Dance be removed from the auspices of Physical Education and to have a new Department of Fine Arts established. Through her efforts, by the end of the 40's, the BFA and MFA degrees had been instituted. The Mills College Art Gallery purchased an oil painting from her in her senior year. Inspired by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius, she was also a member of the Bauhaus art movement. During WW II, she served as a Wave Lieutenant in the US Navy, specializing in illustration of the Pre-Flight Training Manuals, and in critical haste, the Survival on Land and Sea Book to end the perishing of downed fliers in the vast environs of the Atlantic and Pacific War Theaters. Her second assignment was as a cartographer on the Joint Army Navy Intelligence Board (JANIS, which later became the CIA) under the combined Chiefs of Staff. Her map work was so accurate and highly regarded that it was chosen to be scaled down to thumb-nail size for the pilots' use and to ensure security of highly sensitive material in the event of their capture. Following WW II, she met Garrett Bunker. They married on June 3, 1948 and raised a family of 5 children together. Betty continued her art studies a The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Columbia University, The California School of Fine Arts, and under the mentorship of Josef Albers she pursued a MFA from Yale University. Exhibitions of her paintings have been mounted at the International House (Columbia University), The California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Institute of Design), The Richland Washington Art Guild and The Creative Gallery in New York City. Betty taught Adult Education and did lecture demonstrations in sculpture, painting, printmaking and pottery from 1948 through 1955 in Washington, and then at the Glastonbury Art Guild once the family moved to Glastonbury. Betty received a Master of Arts in Art Education from the University of Hartford; and a Master of Education in Special Education from Southern CT State University, with emphasis on learning disabilities and with special emphasis on Art and Movement Education. Betty taught art education and art special education in Bolton, CT and at Horace W. Porter School in Columbia, CT. Betty was a member of The Mayflower Society, The Daughters of the American Revolution and Delta Kappa Gamma. During retirement she enjoyed traveling, painting and drawing, and spending time with her growing family. Betty enjoyed her travels throughout Europe and Great Britain with her daughter Ellie. After being introduced to the high desert by Liz's family at their ranch in Arizona, she spent many winters with her daughter Annie and her family in Tucson, AZ. She remained both an artist and an avid patron of the arts throughout her life. Some of her greatest joys in her later years were to attend the Sunday Hartford Symphony with her dear friend Jondahl Mott, and to visit with her dear friends Shirley and Lynda Marseglia. Betty is predeceased by both of her parents, her husband Garrett and both siblings, Virginia Bunker Barnett and Eugene F. Bunker, Jr. She is survived by her five children: John, Elizabeth, Annie, Eleanor and George; as well as six grandchildren: Elizabeth (Quisi), Cooper, James-Garrett, James-Thomas, Wrenn and Christian. She will be dearly missed by her devoted caregiver, Sandra Osafo. A local service will be held to honor Betty at 11am Saturday November 3rd, at Buckingham Congregational Church in Glastonbury, followed by a reception in Fellowship Hall. In the event that Storm Sandy interferes with our celebration of her life, we will have a raindate of 11am on Saturday, December 1. Anyone who knew her is welcome to share in our celebration of her life and is welcome to bring a story or picture from your time with Betty.
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