It is with sorrow that we announce the passing of Dr. Arvin Ross Bunker, age 74. Arvin died at home in Gallatin, Missouri, on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.
Arvin was a quiet, gentle husband, father, and grandfather who spent his life in the service of others. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and shared his testimony of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others freely.
Arvin was born May 15, 1946 in Prescott, Arizona, the third of seven children of Keith Leroy and Ellen Lucille (Bates) Bunker, members of two of the founding families in Chino Valley, Arizona. He graduated from Prescott High School and then Rick’s College (now Brigham Young University – Idaho) where he was active in student leadership and played on the basketball team.
He served a mission for his church in Mexico and then continued his undergraduate education at Arizona State University, graduating cum laude in 1970.
He met his sweetheart, Mary Catherine Wagner, while a student at ASU. The two were married for time and all eternity in the Mesa, Arizona temple on July 10, 1970, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this summer. They are the parents of seven children – Michael, Deborah, Julie, Christopher, Steven, Mark, and Nicole and grandparents to twenty-seven grandchildren. His family was his greatest joy and he was happiest when rocking a crying baby, reading a story, driving RC cars, or giving a tractor ride.
Dr. Bunker graduated magna cum laude with a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He took his passion for helping others into his professional life, pioneering the way for microfinance and helping banks successfully build micro loan programs for farmers in need. He built programs with rural banks in Bolivia and Romania and created the systems to support a scholarship program that delivered more than 80,000 scholarship awards to girls in 15 African countries. He continued his research in private consultancy and with USAID in more than 34 countries, authoring groundbreaking research and changing the way we think about international development and microfinance.
The Bunkers raised their family in Fairfax, Virginia, Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Bucharest, Romania. Arvin and Cathie built a home and retired to Gallatin in 2009. Dr. Bunker continued to serve in the local community as a member of the township board, a pastoral leader in his local congregation, a youth leader in the Boy Scouts, and a tour guide at Adam-Ondi-Ahman.
Arvin was preceded in death by his parents, his son, Michael Rand Bunker (Lela) and daughter Julie Bunker-Mendes (Charles), and his siblings, Kathryn Graham, James Bunker, and Keith Bunker, Jr.
He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Catherine and their remaining children, Dr. Rick and Deborah Morse, Christopher and Valerie Bunker, Steven and Meredith Bunker, Drs. Mark and Jaime Bunker, and Chester and Nicole Grover, and his twenty-seven grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters, Margaret (Craig Summers), Marilyn (Dean Cook), and Dr. Ellen Bunker.
Funeral services will be hosted at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Gallatin at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 14. The family will receive visitors from 10:00-10:45 prior to the church service. Masks will be required for all guests. In lieu of flowers, the family invites memorial contributions to the Active Aging Resource Center in care of the funeral home. Private Burial at Civil Bend Christian Cemetery, Pattonsburg, MO. Arrangements entrusted to the care and direction of Stith Funeral Home, Gallatin. Online guestbook at www.stithfamilyfunerals.com
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