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Obituaries » Ruby E. Bunkley

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March 18, 1922 - October 2, 2017

A private committal service took place at North Shore Memory Gardens in Coloma, Michigan.

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Age 95, passed away peacefully on October 2, 2017 at Rose Arbor Hospice Residence in Kalamazoo. She was born on March 18, 1922 in Bainbridge, Georgia; the sixth of twelve children of Mallard and Ellie Lou Harrell. Ruby and her family moved to central Florida three years later, where they lived and worked on a farm of their own. She had many fond memories of sleeping three to a bed, hoeing strawberries, and surviving the Great Depression with a loving family around her. She attended Pinecrest High School near Plant City, until she met a young man who came looking for work on her father’s farm. His name was Willard Bunkley and Ruby said it was love at first sight because of his beautiful green eyes. They were married on April 13, 1940, and were together for 47 years until Willard’s death in 1987. They raised three children, all who survive today: Dennis Bunkley, of Mattawan MI, Kathy (Jack) Dopler of Brandon FL, and Arnie (Nancy) Bunkley, of Portage MI. After World War II, Willard and Ruby moved their young family to Michigan and eventually ended up in Benton Harbor. While Whirlpool Corporation employed Willard for 33 years, Ruby put her sewing skills to work as a seamstress for two local furniture stores. She eventually created her own in-home custom drapery workshop, filling orders for several interior designers for over 50 years. After Willard’s death, Ruby moved to Mattawan and continued as an independent seamstress until the age of 88, when she thought maybe it was time to finally retire. She left behind many fine examples of her craft, including prized creations for friends and family, often done for little or no money. Ruby was also a tireless gardener. Each spring and summer she put her hoeing skills to use in a huge vegetable garden behind their house and shared its bounty with all who came for dinner after church, almost every Sunday. Besides sewing and gardening, Ruby was also an exceptional cook. Many a family or church gathering fought over her delicious cakes, pies and southern fried chicken. Ruby was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She valued family and treated all her friends like family as well. She liked to read, always kept up on current events and was not afraid to speak her mind on family, God and country. Besides her children, she is survived by nine grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and six great-great grandchildren. Ruby was especially grateful for the unselfish care and companionship that her son, Dennis and her special friends, Pat and Gayle provided, which allowed her to stay in her own home until she entered Rose Arbor.