David Douglas Bunker was an amazingly talented musician, a genius inventor, and, most importantly, a loving brother, father, and grandfather. He passed away March 18, 2021 at age 86 in Rocky Ridge, Utah. Dave had an extraordinary life, and lived it to the fullest on his own terms until his very last day.
Dave was born to Joseph Laurence Bunker and Winnifred Ella Fuller-Bunker on January 3, 1935 in the small town of Bunker Creek, WA. He was the third of five children: Joanne Bunker-McReynolds, Allen Bunker, Lois Bunker-Woods, and Steven Bunker.
Dave learned the art of woodworking and became a luthier at an early age working side by side with his father building his first violin. Dave went on to form numerous successful guitar companies over his lifetime and continued to be an innovator in his field throughout his entire life. One of his greatest accomplishments was his invention of “The Touch Guitar” which was the second patented string instrument in the United States. He was respected and admired by professionals across all genres of the music industry.
Dave was a bonafide performer. Early in his career he had the great privilege to entertain at military bases around the globe. One of the highlights in Dave’s career was performing at the Grand Ole Opry in the late 1950’s. He went on to share the stage at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas with his band the Dave Bunker Show, and the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings for over a decade. Herbie Mandrell and his daughters also played a significant role in his life during Dave’s Vegas years.
Later in life, Dave’s focus shifted from performing to perfecting the art of guitar building with much success. He manufactured guitar necks for ibanez with his patented tension free necks. Eager to try his hand at another part of the guitar business, Dave went on to buy and sell exotic tonewoods to manufacturers around the world. In his final years, he formed “Stump to Stage” which showed his guitar building process full circle: literally from the tree to the final product. Dave moved to Utah from Washington State three years ago to continue his legacy with his son.
Although The Touch Guitar was his passion, his love for his family was unsurpassed. Dave’s enthusiasm for life was infectious, and he did not know a stranger. He left a positive mark on all lives he touched. In life, Dave was surrounded by love, and, in turn, he spent his life fiercely loving his family and friends. He is survived by his sister Joanne Bunker-McReynolds, his brother Steven Bunker, his former wife (and friend of sixty plus years) Reita Jackson-Collins and their three children: David Laurence Bunker Sr., Teresa Jo Bunker-Reinholz, and Brenda Renee Bunker-Olson and their respective spouses. He was blessed by twenty-seven grandchildren, and thirty-five great grandchildren (with four on the way). He lived a humble life, unaffected by just how significantly he impacted the world. He will be greatly missed by all but his legacy lives on through those he left behind. Heaven has taken on one tough talented angel!
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 11:00 am at the Rocky Ridge Church Building, 151 N. East Ridge Road, Rocky Ridge, Utah 84645, with viewing one hour prior, and also Tuesday evening from 6:00–8:00 pm at the Rocky Ridge Church Building.
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