Obituary for Philip "Joe" Richards Bunge

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Philip "Joe" Richards Bunge

June 17, 1935 - December 4, 2013

Lifelong Brown County resident, Philip Richards ("Joe") Bunge, passed away suddenly on December 4, 2013. Philip spent his last day outdoors, as he loved to do, working to clear a fallen tree from his property just west of Helmsburg. A problem with his heart resulted in a trip to the hospital, yet God called Philip home before the recommended surgery could be performed.

Philip will be remembered as a humble man, who consistently and generously gave his time and talent to his family, his community, and his church. The third child of Chester and Hannah (Richards) Bunge, Philip was born on June 17, 1935, in Helmsburg. He enjoyed playing basketball for the "Fighting Tigers", and graduated with the Helmsburg High School Class of 1953. A double-date with friends turned into a two-year courtship, and he married his high school sweetheart, Guylia L. Smith, on January 2, 1955. Together they built a new home for themselves, started a family, and began their own construction business. Their union lasted a short 58 years, but stands as a testament to a marriage based on love, trust, and Christian principle.

It is estimated that Philip built more than 100 homes during his career, with most of them being in Brown County and the surrounding area, but he also built several houses in Florida, too, where he and Guylia enjoyed spending the winter months. Philip was skilled at all aspects of the home-building process, and many times illustrated his vision of the work to be done by simply sketching it out on a 2 X 4 at the jobsite. Of the many accomplishments attributed to this quiet man, one of his most visible was the construction of the beautiful Unity Baptist Church. Beginning in Spring 1998, Philip worked six days a week alongside his fellow church members to build the new building on ground across the road from the original church. Through the generosity of several, and the combined manpower of many, "This Church Called Unity" was completed in the Spring 2000totally debt-free. Philip's 55-year membership at Unity Baptist Church involved serving as Deacon and Trustee, as well as Sexton for the church cemetery.

Philip Bunge let his light shine in communities other than his own, as he answered the call to help rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. August 2013 found Philip assisting with tasks such as pouring footers and remodeling the group homes of the developmentally handicapped residents of Rainbow Acres in Arizona.

Philip and Guylia enthusiastically traveled throughout all fifty states, and ventured to Alaska five times. Camping in the back of their Ford truck, and cooking over an open fire as they made their way across the USA, are counted as some of the best times the Bunges enjoyed through the years. While not one to spend endless hours in front of the television, Philip nonetheless never intended to miss an IU Basketball game, "Jeopardy", or giving his nightly greeting to the co-host of "Wheel of Fortune" with a friendly 'Well, Hello, Vanna!' Philip realized his longtime dream of owning and refurbishing an antique auto with the purchase of a "Ford Model A" several years agoand he fired up this car and happily cut a couple laps around the barn lot just days before his passing.

Among those who will miss Philip the most are his family left behind to remember and celebrate his life: wife Guylia; daughter, Loretta Kay (David) Woodrum of Morgantown; son David Michael Bunge; and daughter Robin Lee (Tim) Nolin, both of Brown County. Also sharing the loss are his sister, Mary Jo (Mike) Renihan of Martinsville; one brother, John A. (Ann) Bunge of Indianapolis; two sisters-in-law: Wanda Bunge of Greenwood; and Patricia Bunge of Cocoa, Florida; brother-in-law, David (Dorothy) Isley of Lubbock, Texas; eight grandchildren: Amanda, Adam, Austin, Adrian, Andrew, Hannah, Bahia, and Zion; and ten great-grandchildren: Clay, Abby, Alyssa, Luci, Logan, Bryce, Cooper, Ryder, Rocson, and Claire.

Philip was preceded in death by his parents, Chester and Hannah (Richards) Bunge; two sisters: Dorothy Jean Young, and Sue Lynn Isley; as well as two brothers: Kenny Bunge; and Frank M. Bunge.

Friends and family are invited to share hugs and memories during visitation at Unity Baptist Church, on Tuesday, December 10, from 3 to 8 pm. The funeral service will take place at the church on Wednesday, December 11, at 10:30 am. The church is located at 7361 Spearsville Road in Brown County. The Revs. John Parsley, Jeff Tryon, and Lee Snyder, together will conduct the funeral and burial service, with interment at Unity Baptist Church Cemetery. Meredith-Clark Funeral Home, Cremation & Personalization Center in Morgantown has been entrusted with arrangements. Memorial contributions may be sent in honor of Philip Bunge to the Unity Baptist Church Memorial Fund, 7361 Spearsville Road, Morgantown, IN, 46160. Expressions of caring and kindness may be sent to the Bunge family at

Information: (812) 597-4670


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Timeline for Philip Bunge

Born: June 17, 1935
Died: December 4, 2013

Condolences for Philip Bunge

Rick Williamson posted on 1/1/00

A bit delayed, but wanted to send a short note of prayers and sympathy. Joe's brother, John, was a BCHS 1967 classmate of mine.


Sharon Bube posted on 1/1/00

Our deepest sympathy for the loss of such a great man. May you cherish the memories of his life on earth. May God bring you all peace and comfort in this time of sorrow. Our love and prayers for all. Mike and Sharon Bube Stephanie, Sarah, Sherry, Jeanette, Jennifer, and Jamie