Obituary: Theodore (Ted) E. Bunch

Theodore (Ted) E. Bunch. (Courtesy)

Theodore (Ted) E. Bunch. (Courtesy)

Theodore (Ted) E. Bunch, 87, passed Sunday, March 26, 2023, in Prescott, Arizona spending his last days surrounded by immediate family. Ted was born on March 1, 1936 to Charles G. Bunch and Mildred L. Trout Bunch in Huntsville, Ohio.

Ted graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and then went on to the University of Pittsburgh, earning a Ph.D. in Geology in 1966. He had a distinguished 32-yearlong career at NASA as a meteoriticist, earning the H. Julian Allen Award in 1981 for his publication on chondrites, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the NASA Apollo Achievement Award, among others. Ted had hundreds of his scientific papers published, and after retiring from NASA Ames in 2001 as the Chief of Exobiology, he worked as an adjunct Professor of Geology at Northern Arizona University. Ted also volunteered his time as a Native American Petroglyph Site Steward, dedicated to the preservation and education of Northern Arizona’s Native history. While Ted’s achievements as both a scholar and a scientist are numerous and exceptional, nothing compared to the role he played as a devoted and beloved father and husband. Ted’s love of nature meant that his children were raised with an appreciation for the outdoors, with backpacking trips in the Sierra Nevadas and hikes to petroglyph sites, identifying the flora and fauna along the way. He encouraged his children to learn with their hands and keep an open mind, and most birthdays and Christmases meant gifts of books. He was intelligent and witty, but laughed the loudest at the cartoons he sat down to watch with his children. He would don funny costumes to get a laugh, took his children to father-daughter dances, chaperoned field trips, and sometimes lent a bit more than a “helping hand” on school science fair projects.

A beloved son, brother, uncle, and friend Ted was predeceased by his parents. Ted is survived by his wife Brigid Muldowney Bunch of Prescott, AZ and five daughters: Devrie (John) Brennan of Lake Oswego, OR; Alexis Bunch of Santa Rosa, CA; Kelli Bunch of Seattle, WA; Keely Bunch of Prescott, AZ; and Riley Bunch of Tempe, AZ; and two grandchildren; Jamie Brennan and Kyle Brennan. He is also survived by his two younger sisters: Sandy (Jim) Reichard of Simpsonville, SC and Linda (Larry) Branan of Edwards, IL.

Ted’s family is holding a private service, and in lieu of flowers they ask his friends and loved ones to take a step outside and look up at the stars.

Then, now, and always, we love you to the moon and back.

Arrangements entrusted to Hampton Funeral Home.

Information provided by the funeral home.

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