Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Mary Bunce

February 6, 1935 - June 20, 2017
Portage, MI



Sunday, June 25, 2017
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

6:30 PM - The Rosary will be recited.

Driving Directions


Monday, June 26, 2017
10:00 AM EDT
St. Monica Catholic Church
4408 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 345-4389

Lunch will follow in the church hall. Private burial will take place at Custer National Cemetery.

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

The Salvation Army
1700 S. Burdick Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Web Site

Sisters of St. Joseph
P.O. Box 29
Nazareth, MI 49074
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Mary Bunce touched the lives of so many who were within her reach. A lifelong resident of the community she called home, she was a beloved teacher who genuinely cared for all the students who sat in her classroom. A woman of faith, Mary lived to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. With children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to enrich her life, she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.

The 1930s were a time unlike any other as they were primarily defined by the despair of the Great Depression. These were challenging days when nearly every American felt the harsh realities of a soaring unemployment rate from coast to coast. Despite the hard times surrounding them, Arthur and Grace (Gill) Webster were filled with great anticipation as they awaited the birth of their new baby as the calendar turned to welcome the year 1935. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Mary Louise on February 6, 1935, in Marine City, Michigan, drew her first breath. The second of seven children, she was joined in her family by her siblings, John, Bill, Jim, Nick, Helen, and Lincoln.

Raised in Port Huron, Mary was a typical young girl of her generation. She attended St. Stephens High School where she sang in the choir, was the organist, and was also captain of the girls basketball team. From there, Mary went on to Nazareth College and earned her teaching degree.

New and exciting changes were in store for Mary when she met the young man of her dreams while at a Halloween dance. His name was Richard Bunce, and they met while he was attending Western Michigan University. Sparks flew right from the start, and it wasn’t long before the couple found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Mary and Richard were married the following year on August 10, 1957, at St. Stephen Church. The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon at Niagara Falls and then returned to Michigan where they settled in the Portage area.

About one year later, Mary and Richard were blessed with their first child. Together they welcomed five children altogether including Helen, Kate, Ann, Margaret, and Michael into their hearts and home. In addition to raising their children, both Mary and Dick were teachers. She taught fifth and sixth grade at St. Augustine, then Milham Elementary, and finally Portage North Middle School. Mary was an amazing teacher who loved what she did. Over her 30 year career, there were so many lives that Mary touched. For the rest of her life she always remembered every student she ever taught. Thinking about her students always made Mary smile.

Throughout her entire life Mary was a bustle of activity. She got up early every morning just so she could get everything done. As a member of St. Monica Church, she was very active and involved. Mary played the organ, sang in choir, served as a Eucharistic minister, lead the rosary, and volunteered in the church office every Monday morning. After church she was part of a coffee group. She and her husband traveled all over the world including to Alaska, France, to see the Vatican, and to Medjugorje, just to name a few. Mary volunteered with Hospice for 20 years and through that ministry she supported several families through their grief and loss. She was a fan of all the Michigan teams, especially the Detroit Tigers. As her family and friends can attest, Mary enjoyed card playing and played monthly with a wonderful group of friends. She loved playing canasta at the Portage Senior Center, and she also shared her love for cards with her grandchildren by teaching them to play.

She had a great sense of humor and loved sharing her contagious laughter with the people around her. Mary never gave up when she faced hardships and her strong will and trust in God carried her through. She was a loving, generous and devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She treasured the memories she created with her loved ones, her students, her friends and church family. Mary will never be forgotten.

Mary L. Bunce, of Portage, died June 20, 2017, at her home. Mary’s family includes her 5 children: Helen (David) Goyings, Kate Dahmer (John Ray), Ann (Joe) Pierluissi, Margaret Bunce (Steve Bruns) and Michael (Sherry) Bunce; 10 grandchildren: Paul (Jocelyn), Rose, Mary (Nick), Alison, Laura (Paul), Kelly, Jennifer, Michael, Olivia and Emma; 3 great-grandchildren: Alexandra, Matthew and Owen; 4 siblings: Jim Webster, Nick (Arlene) Webster, Helen Bailey and Lincoln (Sandy) Webster; and many nieces and nephews. Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Richard in 2001 and by 2 brothers: John and Bill Webster. Visit with family and friends on Sunday from 4 – 7 p.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where a rosary will be recited at 6:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday 10 a.m. at St. Monica Church followed by a luncheon. Private burial will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Mary’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Salvation Army or Sisters of St. Joseph.