It is with heavy hearts and deep sorrow that we announce the passing of a beloved gentleman who embraced life’s simple pleasures and brought joy to all who knew him. Robert G. Bunce age 86 of Ellsworth died Aug. 30, 2023 at the Ellsworth Health Services. Bob was born on Jan.0, 1937 in Plum City, Wis., the son of Ralph and Dorothy (Gibbs) Bunce. He graduated from Spring Valley High School prior to enlisting in the Armed Forces where he proudly served in the United States Army. Following his honorable discharge, he embarked on the adventure of matrimony, as he walked down the aisle at St. John’s Catholic Church in Plum City on Aug. 3, 1963 with the love of his life, Diana G. Klingler. They have made Ellsworth their home for the past 60 years raising their two daughters that they were so very proud of. Bob dedicated 30 years of his life to the Ford Motor Company. He worked on the assembly in their paint division. Outside of being a committed member of the Ford work force, he was one of their biggest ambassadors, quick to point out why they were the best American-made ride.
Bob was a man of many passions, each of which illuminated his vibrant and adventurous spirit. He spent his life cultivating meaningful connections and relishing in the beauty of the great outdoors. His favorite retreat was the serene Wildwoods Moody’s Resort in Clam Falls, where he found solace in the tranquility of nature and the camaraderie of fellow campers. Here, he enjoyed time spent at the campfires, four wheeling on the trails, or playing Siren or Frederic’s golf courses. On the golf course, Bob found both challenge and relaxation. His regular rounds with his close friend Cal were filled with laughter, friendly competition, and the joy of chasing that elusive hole-in-one. Earlier, he was also a valued member of the Ellsworth Golf Club Wednesday night league as well as the local bowling league. He was a long-time member of the Ellsworth Fire Department, exemplifying selflessness and bravery in the face of danger, always ready to serve and protect his community. Furthermore, as a proud member of the Ellsworth American Legion, Bob showed unwavering support for veterans and their families. His dedication to this noble cause reflected his commitment to his past service and his deep love for his country.
Bob had a talent for grilling chicken that was second to none, and he took immense pleasure in hosting gatherings for friends and family. The sizzle of the grill and the aroma of chicken were symbols of his generosity and warmth, creating cherished moments that will be forever etched in the hearts of those fortunate enough to share time with him. Hunting was another of Bob’s passions, and he pursued it with an unmatched fervor. His most cherished hunting memories were the expeditions and unforgettable elk hunting trips to Wyoming with his brother Richard and nephew Rick. These adventures meant the world to him, while allowing him to connect with nature in profound ways. He also enjoyed an occasional trip to the casino to try his luck, snowmobiling, and making sure his yard was mowed to with precision.
After retirement, Bob found great joy in spending time at his brother’s automotive shop, known as Dick’s Auto, where he eagerly offered his assistance in any way possible. He relished accompanying his brother Dick to various car auctions. Within the community at “The Shop,” he affectionately became known as U-B., an abbreviation for Uncle Bob. The warm camaraderie and special bond he shared with everyone there filled his heart with happiness, and he couldn’t help but wear a constant smile when he gathered with them for lunch.
Bob leaves behind a legacy of love that will continue to inspire those who had the privilege of knowing him; including his wife of 60 years Diana; daughters Deb (Ed) Hanson of El Paso, Kim (Peter) Courteau of Maple Plain, Minn.; grandchildren Michael (Addie) Hanson, Mitchell Hanson, Quinlan (Savannah) Courteau, Madeleine Courteau, Isabelle Courteau; brothers Richard (Mary Jane) Bunce of Hager City, Barry (Deb) Bunce of Maiden Rock, sister-in-law Darlene Hei of Eagan, Minn.; as well as his nieces and nephews. His parents; brother Rolland Bunce; parents-in-law, Frank and Caroline Klingler; brothers/sisters-in-law, Leander Klingler, Dennis Klingler, Beverly Klingler, and Kenny Klingler precede him in death.
Robert has now embarked on his final journey, leaving behind a legacy of love and a trail of cherished memories. Mass of Christian Burial for Bob’s life will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15 with a visitation prior from 1-3 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Ellsworth. Burial will be in the St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Plum City.
Cremation and services have been entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Ellsworth, www.oconnellfuneralhomes.com, 715-273-4421.