(417) 646-8135
3rd & Market Street, Osceola, MO 64776

Bunch, Willard January 18, 1934 - September 22, 2017

Will was born on January 18, 1934 to Howard and Violet (Leabo) Bunch in Osceola, Missouri. He died at home in Midlothian, VA surrounded by loved ones who had eased his way as he struggled with Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related maladies. Will never lost his amazing good nature and love of all that surrounded him

Will was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Joanne Plumlee and half-brother Donald Rader.

He is survived by, Barbara, his wife of twenty-seven years, of the home. Will is also survived by his first wife and dear friend, Nancy Hazen, their daughters Kelly Bunch McIlvain, Shelly Bunch Green, grandchildren Adrienne (Mike) Madrigal, Josh (Rachael) McIlvain, Stacy (Jordan) Holloway, great-grandchildren Jaden and Kasen Madrigal, Ashlinn and Hayden Holloway, and Sofia McIlvain. He is also survived by his brother and best friend for life, Jim (Ruth Ann) Sandifar, brother-in-law Jim Plumlee, sister-in-law Diane Majors and brother-in-law, Jack (Mary) Porter, along with nieces, nephews and many friends.

Will spent much of his childhood living with his Grandfather, Washington Irving (Irk) and Grandmother, Sarah Christina (Tinie) Bunch on the family farm in Lowery City, Missouri. Will’s grandparents installed in him a deep and abiding love of the law and learning. Will attended Calhoun High School and upon graduation moved to Peoria, IL. There he attended Bradley University. He was drafted into service and served in the United States Army from 1956 through 1958 with the Combat Engineers. In 1957, while serving in this capacity, Will was named outstanding leader of the 7th Army, NCO Academy, Munich Germany. After Will’s discharge, while employed as Supervisor of Employee Relations with Bendix Corporation, and with the aid of the G.I. Bill, he attended evening classes at UMKC School of Law where he was a member of the Law Review and awarded the Order of the Bench and Robe. He graduated UMKC School of Law in 1967, was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1968 and the United States Supreme Court in 1975.

From 1968 through 1970 Will acted as Chief of Criminal Division, Legal Aid and Defender Society, becoming the Public Defender for the 16th Judicial Circuit from 1971 to 1974. He was the first public defender under the authorizing statute, appointed by Governor Warren Hearn. Will was appointed to and held the position of Jackson County Counselor from 1975 to 1978. From 1979 to 1982, Will was a Special Hearing Officer for the Missouri State Tax Commission. Will served on the Missouri Public Defender Commission from 1976 to 1985 (he was Chairman from 1983 to 1985). Will served as President of the Kansas City, Missouri Bar in 1982. Additionally, Will taught night classes at UMKC School of Law for eight years, authoring the Evidence Chapter for the Missouri Bar Criminal Law Series. Will was honored by his service as President of the Kansas City, MO Bar, his induction into Deans of the Trial Bar in 2006, and the Lew Kollias Award for his service to the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Along with the aforementioned, Will maintained a private practice for over 30 years before his retirement.

After retirement, Will was able to indulge in two of his favorite activities fishing and gardening. However, he noticed, as many do, that he did not find the pleasure in these activities nearly as much as he had when he was actively engaged in his real passion, the practice of law.


Visitation Location:

Date: Sunday, November 12, 2017
Time: 2 PM

Service Location:
Sheldon-Goodrich Chapel


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