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Obituary: James Bunch April 23, 1934 – Aug. 20, 2019

on August 24, 2019 - 7:05am

JAMES MARION BUNCH April 23, 1934 Aug. 20, 2019

James Marion Bunch was born April 23, 1934, in Hastings, NE. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 20, 2019 at age 85.

After graduating from Hastings High School in 1952, he married Elayne Grothen in 1954 and completed his BA in physics with a math minor at Hastings College in 1956.

They had two children, Robyn and John. Jim completed his PhD in solid state physics at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1967. Then the family moved to Los Alamos where Jim was a staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory. From 1981-1985, he was a process engineer at Mostek, a semiconductor manufacturing company in Colorado Springs, CO; and then he returned to LANL.

He met his second wife, Karen, at Stockton Folk Dance Camp in CA in 1987 and married her in a garden wedding in Klamath Falls, OR two years later. He helped raise her two children, Lisa and Greg in Los Alamos. His work at LANL focused on engineering and applied physics activities in support of weapons and fusion energy projects until his retirement in 1993.

When he wasn’t working, Jim loved the outdoors especially hiking, skiing, biking, camping and traveling with Karen in their RV to the Pacific Northwest.

Always a woodworker, he remodeled his houses and built workshops for special projects. As an avid reader, he spent hours researching topics and reading his Kindle. Music was another passion. He played violin and viola in the Los Alamos Symphony and Santa Fe Community Orchestra for several years and built three harpsichords and a hammered dulcimer. He was always good at finding ways to make things work. Jim and Karen enjoyed recreational folk dancing in groups in Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque and performed for various cultural events. Ham Radio was a fun diversion; he chatted with folks across the world.

Jim was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Los Alamos and later joined St. Paul Lutheran Church when he and Karen moved to Albuquerque in 2005.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Wayne and Erma Bunch, his first wife, Elayne, and his brother-in-law, Philip Hanson. He is survived by his wife, Karen; daughter, Robyn Petersen; son, John Bunch (Mary), all of Albuquerque, NM; stepdaughter, Lisa Mansfield (Bruce), Anthem, AZ; and stepson, Greg Fitch (Laura), Houston, TX. He was proud of his grandchildren: Brett Petersen, Albuquerque, NM; Brad Petersen (Gene Powell), Bush, LA; Jimmy Bunch, Lubbock, TX; Kate Bunch-Sutton (Hunter), Virginia Beach, VA; Michael and Laurie Mansfield, Anthem, AZ, and his great-grandson, Adrian Petersen, Albuquerque, NM. He is also survived by his lap dog, Sophie.

The family wishes to thank Corus Home Health, Corus Health Hospice, and Nurturing Hearts Assisted Living house caregivers who provided support and loving comfort. A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, September 6 at 11 am at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1100 Indian School Rd. NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87102 with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church, Animal Humane New Mexico, 615 Virginia St. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108, or a charity of your choice.