Walter L. Bunker


Walter L. Bunker, 93, beloved father and grandfather, passed away peacefully on Oct. 23, 2020, with his daughters by his side.

Walter was born in South Gouldsboro on March 20, 1927, the son of Fritz and Thelma Potter Bunker. He graduated from Winter Harbor High School. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he proudly served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

Walter was a lobster fisherman and later owned his own lobster pound and dealership. He married Karen Willey in 1952 and they raised their daughters in West Gouldsboro. Folks in the area would remember him as someone who was always willing to help someone in need — to lend a hand, a vehicle or some financial assistance.

Later in life, Walter left the lobster industry and entered the real estate field. With their children now grown, he and his wife moved to Ellsworth. He worked as an associate broker and while “sales” were not really his passion, he did enjoy the many families he met and helped to settle in the Ellsworth area.

Walter began a long career of public service in the 1960s when elected to the state House of Representatives, where he served six terms. While in the Legislature, he served on the Marine Resources Committee and was House chair for two terms. After his tenure in the Legislature, he was elected to the Hancock County Commission, where he served for five terms, several of those years as chair.

Walter served on the board of trustees at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital for 18 years and at the time of his passing was an honorary member of the board of trustees. He was a member and past chair of Eastern Maine Development Corp. After his retirement from the County Commission, Walter continued to work for the county as the supervisor of the Unorganized Territories. He retired at the age of 84.
Following the loss of his wife in 2013, Walter decided the family home was too big and moved to the Leonard Lake Senior Apartments. It was there he made many new friends and enjoyed daily chats with his neighbors.

Pup,” as his grandchildren affectionately called him, loved his family. He was the happiest when everyone gathered at his house for family birthday parties, holidays and other celebrations. He was an amateur magician and performed magic tricks for his grandchildren and anyone else who was willing to be amazed. He delighted in having his camp at Abrams Pond as a gathering place for his family in the summer.

And while he loved a good party, he also loved solitude and “thinking”. He could often be found reading his Bunker genealogy books, mulling over early U.S. history or processing memories from WWII. Walter was an avid vegetable gardener and generously shared his produce with family and neighbors. His sense of humor was his trademark. Even in the darkest of circumstances, he could find a way to weave in some levity.

His surviving family members include his daughters, Pam LaHaye of Morrill and Kim Bunker-Hodgkins and her husband, Mike, of Trenton; grandchildren Matthew LaHaye and his wife, Jennifer, of Southwest Harbor, Kathryn Deetjen and her husband, Bobby, of Morrill, and Molly Hodgkins and her partner, Ismael Thadal, of China; great-grandchildren Carmen LaHaye, Noah Deetjen, Hannah Deetjen, and Winston LaHaye. He is also survived by one sister, Dorothy Dubowick of Scarborough, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Joan and Jerry West of Virginia, sister-in-law Jane Willey of Georgia and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Walter was preceded in death by his wife, Karen, three siblings, Paul Bunker, Irene Pilch and Mary Millett, his son-in-law Richard LaHaye Jr. and one grandchild, Sophie Hodgkins.
Due to the pandemic, there will be no service at this time. The family is planning a service in the spring at Bunker Memorial Cemetery in South Gouldsboro.

The family would like to thank the ICU nurses at Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital for their compassionate and responsive care.

Know when to pay your respects.