Cover photo for Myrene H. Bunge's Obituary
Myrene H. Bunge Profile Photo
1921 Myrene H. Bunge 2023

Myrene H. Bunge

November 26, 1921 — February 19, 2023

 

Myrene Harriet Bunge: A Life of Gratitude, Service, and Faith

Myrene Harriet Bunge lived a long, service-oriented, and meaningful life. She was 101 years old when she passed away on February 19, 2023. She was a wise and compassionate person who served others in a variety of ways over the years. Until the final days of her life, she was alert, had a lively sense of humor, and expressed gratitude to God for life’s blessings.

Myrene was born on November 26, 1921 near Langford, South Dakota to Lewis Larson and Hilma Oletta Stenberg Larson. As a youngster, she grew up on a farm and walked two miles to a one-room schoolhouse. She was confirmed at Falnes Lutheran Church. After attending Langford High School for two years, she finished high school at Augustana Academy in Canton, SD. Her whole family was musical, and she was an accomplished singer and played the piano and the cello. She was an active member of the choir at the Academy and sang for many church-related and community events.

After graduating from Augustana Academy in 1939, she earned a teaching certificate in 1940 at NorthernState Teacher’s College in Aberdeen, SD and served as a Country School Teacher for two years (District 123, Roslyn, SD). In 1942, she attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. Given the shortage ofteachers during WWII, she interrupted her college studies to teach students in her former grade school (District 203, Langford, SD). After teaching one year, she completed her undergraduate studies at Augustana College, graduating in 1946 with honors and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Music.

Immediately after graduating, Myrene was offered a high school teaching position in Newell, South Dakota (near the Black Hills). During her first semester there she taught music along with regular high school subjects. Impressed with her musical talents, the administration invited her the next semester to begin teaching vocal music in all classes from elementary to 12th grade. While in Newell, she re-met Rev. Richard J. Bunge, a former Augustana Academy classmate and pastor at St. James Lutheran Church in Belle Fourche, SD.

Richard and Myrene were married at Falnes Lutheran Church in June 1947. In 1948, the couple moved to Dubuque, Iowa, where Richard had been called to be the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. In addition to fulfilling family responsibilities, Myrene was highly active in the church. She sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, organized the young couples’ club, and directed Junior Lutherans and other activities for youth. The young couple also hosted two sets of Lithuanian refugees in their home. During their time in Dubuque, their first three children were born: James Richard (1949), John Eric (1951), and Marcia JoAnn (1954).

In 1957, the family moved to Greeley, Colorado, where Richard was called to be the pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. Soon after they moved to Greeley, their fourth child, Marlene Hilma, was born. In addition to being a mother, Myrene continued to be active in the church, singing in the choir, directing the children's choir, helping to lead several congregational service projects, and arranging events for children, youth, and senior citizens. From 1969 to 1970, Myrene went to graduate school, earning a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado.

In 1970, the family moved to Grandview, MO (near Kansas City). Richard was a pastor at Ruskin Heights Lutheran Church until his death in 1977, and Myrene was a counselor at Smith Hale Jr. High School until 1989. After retiring, she enjoyed spending quality time with her ten grandchildren: Andrew, Emily, Jennifer, and Gail; Eric and Breanna; Marissa and Deidra; and Isaac and Anja. She also remained active in Ruskin Heights Lutheran Church. She continued to form many close and supportive relationships there and deeply appreciated the congregation’s rich and powerful sense of community.

In 2010, Myrene moved to Corby Place, an independent living facility in Saint Joseph, MO. She became a member of First Lutheran Church. She later moved into an assisted living apartment at Benedictine Living Community in Saint Joseph. While there, she enjoyed listening to music, visiting with relatives and friends, and staying connected with her faith community. Even though she had entered hospice care in early 2022, this past July the hospice team helped make it possible for Myrene to attend a Larson family reunion, which was held near her childhood home at Falnes Lutheran Church in South Dakota.

Myrene was a life-long member of the Lutheran church, a grounded optimist, and a Christ-centered person who trusted in God’s steadfast love. To her family, friends, and those who knew her, Myrene exemplified kindness, generosity, and Christian love for all people.

Myrene was preceded in death by her husband, her four siblings (Hans, Genevieve, Luther, and Elaine), and her youngest daughter, Marlene H. Hebb, who died on February 14, 2021. Myrene will be greatly missed by her ten grandchildren, her in-laws, her Bunge and Larson relatives, and her three surviving children: James R. Bunge, Rev. John E. Bunge, and Marcia J. Bunge, Ph.D.

The family wishes to thank the members of Ruskin Heights Lutheran (Grandview, Missouri), First Lutheran Church (Saint Joseph, Missouri), and First Lutheran Church (Saint Peter, Minnesota) for their prayers and support over the years. The family is also grateful to the entire staff at Benedictine Living Community and the hospice team at Mosaic Life Care for their special care of and attention to Myrene, especially during the past year.

The committal will be held on Friday, March 3, at 1:30 p.m. at Park Lawn Funeral Home, 8251 Hillcrest Road in Kansas City, MO, and the memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 4, at 11 a.m. at First Lutheran Church, 302 S. 10th St., in Saint Joseph, MO.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests sending donations to the following organizations: First Lutheran Church in Saint Joseph, MO (https://www.flcsj.org/) and Metro Lutheran Ministry in Kansas City, MO (https://mlmkc.org/).

Service Information:

Funeral services will be 1:30PM, Friday, March 3 at Park Lawn Funeral Home, 8251 Hillcrest Rd., Kansas City, Missouri; burial in Memorial Park Cemetery.  Memorial services will be 11AM, Saturday, March 4 at First Lutheran Church, 302 S. 10th St., St. Joseph, Missouri.

The memorial service was recorded and can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSmyYaoeEmc. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Myrene H. Bunge, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, March 3, 2023

Starts at 1:30 pm (Central time)

Funeral services will be 1:30PM, Friday, March 3 at Park Lawn Funeral Home; burial in Memorial Park Cemetery.

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Memorial Service

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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