Connie Bunting, age 79, of McHenry, died Monday, January 11, 2020, at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital with her husband and son by her side.
She was born on June 2, 1941 in Clay Center, Nebraska where she enjoyed a blissful, care-free small-town upbringing. Before High School, her family moved to nearby Hastings Nebraska. While there were few sporting opportunities for girls at that time, she excelled at basketball, track, and, especially water skiing. She graduated from Hastings High School in 1959 where she met her husband-to-be, Jerry. She graduated from Kearney State Teachers College in 1963 and began her long and fulfilling Physical Education teaching career. In 1966, she and Jerry were married in Hastings.
They eventually moved to Illinois where she taught in Glenview and Des Plaines before taking a few years off from teaching after their son Michael was born. In 1977 she returned to teaching and was initially hired to teach Physical Education at all of the District 15 elementary schools in McHenry. By the early 1980’s, she began teaching exclusively at Valley View where she stayed until her retirement in 2006. She was the quintessential elementary P.E. teacher, perfectly balancing sports skill instruction along with her true passion for teaching children the importance of teamwork, fairness, and compassion for others. While she didn’t invent the initial idea of the Valley View Olympics, she certainly did perfect it. Her boundless energy and creative event ideas transformed it from an ordinary end-of-school-year field day into the school-wide, can’t-miss event that every Valley View grad certainly still remembers to this day.
While she was a fantastic teacher with an accomplished career, spending time with family brought Connie the most cherished times of her life. She was always happiest when surrounded by her large, extended family for holidays, birthday parties, or any of the ad hoc family water skiing weekends at Roc & Beva’s house on the lake. She loved being a wife, mother, and grandmother and truly shone in those roles. Jerry and Connie’s relationship exemplifies everything you could hope to find in a marriage. Just a perfect blend of love, compassion, compromise, communication, and fun. While clearly biased, her son and her grandchildren would say she was the best Mom and Grandma Nonnie that ever was! Her true legacy will hopefully be that her great-great-great grandchildren some day will still be teaching their children her core values of unconditional love, selflessness, service, and awareness and compassion for others.
Connie is survived by her husband of 54 years, Jerry; son, Michael (Cristine); grandchildren, Caiden, Connor, Caroline, Maeve, and Elise; sister Beva (Roc); brother Gordon (Sharon), sister-in-law Dona; nieces, Candy (Frank) & Kim (Brad); nephews, Brian, Bradley (Beth), Daniel (Avonda), Jeff, Kevin (Karen), & Doug (Holly): and many grand & great-grand nieces & nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Vernon & Ruby (who everyone called Bopa & Mom), brother Ronnie, and nephews Steven and Brandon.
Sadly, there will be no visitation due to COVID precautions at this time. However, a large gathering of all her friends and family is being planned for this Summer (near her birthday in the first weekend of June) when we can hopefully all begin to safely gather again.
In lieu of flowers, her family suggests donations in Connie’s name be sent to the Pioneer Center for Human Services in McHenry at www.pioneercenter.org/donate/donate-to-pioneer-center/
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Justen Funeral Home & Crematory in McHenry, IL. For information, please call the funeral home at 815-385-2400 or visit www.justenfh.com, where friends and loved ones may share memories of Connie on her tribute wall.