Thomas Wilton Bunce
Mar. 21, 1946 – May 24, 2020
BUNCE, Thomas W., died peacefully, surrounded by his adoring family on the morning of May 24, 2020 after a struggle with metastatic melanoma, appearing 10 years after an original melanoma diagnosis.
Tom was born on March 21, 1946 in Havertown, PA to the late, Wilton and Frances Bunce; and he was also preceded in death by his brother, Robert. He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Jo; and his sons, Ryder (Beth Kirchner) and Casey; and his sister, Vicki Arnesen (Randy). He was loved and will be missed by many nieces, nephews, and friends.
He attended Archmere Academy in Claymont, Del. He graduated from LSU (Geaux Tigers!) in Government and Foreign Affairs and from James Madison University with a master’s degree in School Psychology. He retired as a School Psychologist for Chesterfield County Public Schools. Tom loved traveling, and he and Jo backpacked across Europe in 1973. He was passionate about doing anything with his family, especially spending time at the beach, and supporting his sons’ interests in sports, dirt bikes, surfing, and skateboarding. He proudly served as chief to their Indian Guides tribe and coach to their little league teams. Tom also loved playing poker with his friends and riding his bike. There was no board or card game in which he didn’t excel! His sense of humor was second to none. Reading and politics were also his passions.
Burial is private at St. Michael the Archangel Columbarium. A celebration of his life will be held when circumstances allow for social gathering. He will be loved and missed every day for the rest of our lives.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Mr. Bunce sounds like a wonderful man, husband, father and father-in-law, and I’m sorry I did not get the privilege of meeting him at Ryder and Beth’s wedding, which I could not attend. I would have loved talking politics, psychology and losing at chess and scrabble to him! My sincerest condolences to all of you who are grieving his loss. Heaven surely has another angel watching over all of you, with a smile.
My thoughts and prayers are with you, Jo, Casey, and Ryder. Tom was my elementary school psychologist but became my colleague and friend when we worked together at Robious Middle. I loved hearing him talk so lovingly about his family, and he made a point to daily “discuss” sports with me – knowing I would agree with whatever he said, because I neither loved or cared about watching sports. Above all, he was kind and supportive of children and his colleagues. I turned to him for advice on everything from students to cars to parenting, while we worked together and after. I am better for having known him and learned from him. I will miss him.
How sad and shocked I am to learn this news. My last conversation with Tom was about politics (of course) and he did not mention his illness returning.
Jo, Casey, and Ryder- please accept my deepest sympathies. I enjoyed Tom as a friend and respected and admired him as a work colleague. He never had a problem saying what needed to be said in the interest of children.
And on a lighter note, Tom helped me choose cars on occasion, and found the house I live in now. I respected his opinions immensely.
Tom adored his family and being at the beach with you all. He was proud of Casey and Ryder and their lives and careers. Jo, if there is anything I could help with, please reach out. I thought the world of Tom and would like to attend a celebration of his life. My thoughts are with you all.
My heartfelt sympathy to you, Ryder, and Casey on Tom’s passing. I remember fondly our time together at the Dept of Ed and although the years have passed, I continue to treasure our friendship. May God bring you comfort and peace during this difficult time.
Love, Diane Jay
Tom was such a good neighbor. He was always friendly and so easy going. We will always remember him with a smile on his face! Our thoughts and prayers go out to you Jo, Ryder, and Casey at this very sorrowful time. May God truly hold you in the palm of His hand and grant you His pease.
Mary Alice, David, Jeb, and James
To all of Tom’s friends:
I am so sorry we couldn’t contact you personally. Tom’s phone stopped working before he went into the hospital and we were unable to retrieve a contact list. No, it wasn’t an iPhone. You know Tom wouldn’t spend that much on a phone! But thank you for responding. He loved you all.
I am so saddened to hear about this. My deepest condolences go out to Jo, Ryder and Casey. I also worked with Tom at Robious Middle and learned so much from him. He could not have been a better School Psychologist, colleague and friend. He was the man of our mental health team and brought so much knowledge and care to our students.
We frequently would talk about family and parenting. He was able to meet both of my boys, and grew to really know my youngest son, Dylan, very well. He would always ask how was doing and what he was up to. I appreciated his care and concern. I will definitely miss him.
I will definitely miss my Uncle Tom dearly. The bike rides we took while we visited the beach house, all the cards he and my aunt jo sent for every holiday or event that I celebrated in my life ( which I have all of them still). All the talks about sports & LSU because he knows that’s my favorite team, the corn hole games we played, just everything. One of the best uncles I could ask for and I will never forget him. It’s definitely going to be really different now. Always praying for my aunt Jo and my cousins Ryder and Casey. We love you guys ! And wish we could be there at this difficult time.
your niece- Emada Loe❤️
Tom was a good man and a good friend. As Elizabeth and Martha both commented above, he was so kind. He always expressed a genuine interest in my family, asking about my husband’s career, entertaining my kiddos endless questions when visiting, and supporting me. I have a pic of him holding my firstborn at the hospital. Our counseling department sometimes signed cards as “the guidance gals and Tom, too”. He was part of our family at work, but a dear friend much more than simply a colleague. Even after his retirement, I would call him to seek his advice.
Jo, my heart breaks for you and the boys. Please know I am praying for peace and comfort for you all.
With much love, Joy.
Jo, I am so sorry to learn of Tom’s death. My sympathy to you and your family. I remember the fun we had in Raintree eating Chinese food and we must have played board games, trivia , and talked about everything on your sun porch. Tom was such a great friend to all and will be missed. Love and peace to you. Mary Lee Fehl Brownfield
To Jo, Casey and Ryder, I offer my deepest condolences for your great loss. You are all in my prayers and I send you many blessings.
I know you can take comfort in what a wonderful man your husband and father was.
~ Death leaves a heartache 💔 no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal ❤️ ~
Uncle Tom you will truly be missed. You were an unforgettable part of my childhood as well as my family. We love you for that and always will. An angel 😇 definitely gained their wings. Gone but never forgotten, Rest In Peace Uncle Tom 🕊❤️
Aunt Jo, Ryder and Casey we love you and wish we could be there with you all in this difficult time ❤️
Jo, I can’t tell you how shocked and saddened I am for this tragic loss. I had no idea about his health issues, and you, Ryder, Casey, and you’re extended family are all in my heart. I will certainly be at the service you hold once we can congregate. You likely have family with you now, but I will call you in the next couple of days. My sincere condolences and love to you.
I met Tom when he was working at Robious Middle and Elementary schools. He was a great guy and I”m saddened to hear of his passing. My deepest condolences to his family.
Jo, please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of your husband. I never met him but through his obit, it sounds like he was a remarkable person. Seeing that you two backpacked across Europe in 1973 made me smile! What spirit that showed! God bless~
~Lu Ann Collier
Very sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. He was always one of my favorite colleagues when we worked together for Chesterfield County Public Schools. I never heard Tom say an unkind word about anyone; but he was quick to recognize (and laugh about) the follies of everyday existence. You don’t meet too many people of Tom’s caliber in this life. May he rest in peace.
I was lucky enough to meet Tom just a couple of years ago. He and Jo were such warm, considerate, and enjoyable hosts during my stay with them in Richmond. He truly was one of the easiest and most enjoyable people to be around. I was pleased to read in the obituary that it mentioned his sense of humor. In the short time I go to know him, that stood out in bright lights. His smile seemed infections and you could see the humor in each one of his grins. I had the privilege of sitting on Tom and Jo’s back porch with the two of them easily chatting away about politics and sports mostly, and watching the hummingbirds feed in their yard. I will cherish the few moments we had together. Meeting Tom , Jo, Ryder, and Casey along with what I will call the Bunce stronghold, which includes the Jenkins and Arnesen families, allowed me to witness what unfettered love and family really means. My thoughts are with all those who knew and loved Tom. I guess I am reminded through Tom’s passing just how precious it is t simple be able to look into another persons eyes, here the uniqueness of their voice, and to perhaps share a smile. Thank you for everything Tom, I will miss you deeply, and think of you often. Mike
Fist I would like to send my thoughts and prayers to my Aunt Jo and cousins Ryder and Casey . Tom was not only my Uncle, but him and my Auto Jo were also my God Parents . I think the thing i will miss most is our trips to the beach and seeing him there . We always discussed sports especially our love for LSU (Geaux Tigers ) and politics lol . I will also miss texting my Aunt Jo on college football Saturdays and hearing Uncle Tom has the LSU game on upstairs I have the Penn State game on downstairs and we are watching the West Virginia game on the computer or phone lol . I wish He would of been able to make it to a West Virginia game to see Exree Play . He definitely will be truly missed .
From my vantage point, the only thing I ever observed Tom failing to handle successfully with skill and finesse was his attempt to play right field for the Mainstream, the ragtag softball team featuring employees from the Chesterfield County Public Schools put together many years ago. With the exception of ‘right field,’ Tom’s many talents and other fine attributes were always on display in work related tasks to casual social exchanges and those fortunate to have crossed paths with him benefited greatly from them. I have always felt extremely grateful for knowing him. My hope is that you and your family as those who knew him will find solace in fond memories of a well-lived life that enriched the lives of so many.
I was shocked and so very saddened to learn of Tom’s passing . He was a fellow school psychologist but I really got to know him so much better as one of our retired “ lunch buddies . “ Tom always had a smile on his face and I enjoyed hearing his stories about growing up outside of Philadelphia , of sports, the beach and of his family over our many lunches together . He will be missed by those who knew him . My prayers go out to you Jo , Ryder and Casey .
This is shocking news. Tom was a great friend in high school at Archmere, and a very gifted athlete.. We came in contact again last year and I invited him to an annual Christmas dinner that our class of 1964 has each year. I didn’t tell anyone he was coming and they were all very pleased to see Tom again. as he was very close to our class.It was a great evening. That was last December. None of knew any of this was going on. It is very sad.
Our prayers go out to Tom’s family.
I have known Tom for the past 35 years as a friend and colleague. When I first came to Chesterfield County to interview in the summer of 1985, Tom was the one to give me a tour of the county, the schools and central office. After living in an apartment for a year, Tom encouraged me strongly to buy a house. He showed me a few houses and he found the one that I am still currently living in near the river. He helped me figure out how I could make it all work. Without his guidance and his insistence, I would not have purchased a home.
Tom and I worked together for couple of years at Robious Middle, where we collaborated on helping students. Tom and I retired the same year. Not long after, a few of the psychologists would get together for lunch once a month. This gave us a chance to interact with each other at a more casual level, sharing our experiences. We all enjoyed Tom’s stories about growing up in Pennsylvania and his time at LSU. It was something I always looked forward to. I was shocked and saddened by his passing. I will miss him.
I cannot begin to express my deepest sympathies for your loss. I will always remember Tom’s beaming smile and dry sense of humor. My boys will also remember your and Tom’s visits to our house during the Christmas break. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your boys.
Tom and I didn’t get to know each other for nearly as long as I would have hoped. During that short time it was always a joy to see him. He was kind, warm, easygoing and thoughtful. I always cherished the time we did get to spend together, because I knew I would have another chance to learn a little more about Casey, his family and his childhood. Tom had so many stories to share, and he always told them with just enough detail to reel you in for what was inevitably a humorous end. I will miss him- his stories, his opinions, his advice and his presence. And I will especially miss the opportunity we didn’t get to have to know each other better.
It’s been 50 years or so since Tom and us ‘64 Auk guys rode Mr. O’Mara’s bus to and from school. Everyday. Then we traded rides home (30 miles) when we all got our licenses. At the time I was pretty introverted and Tom would routinely playfully engage me in conversation, being a guy who could get me out of my shell and he would kindly encourage me. He was fun to be with and he was greatly loved by all of us. In my year book he made fun of me for a concussion I had in football. “Denny, your name is Dennis Conneen, just in case you ever forget. You are the most generous guy in the Senior Class because you always gave me a ride home. Good Luck. Tom Bunce “Ace”. I wish we had “kept in touch”, but I appreciated reading the brief above comments about his meaningful life. It was so good to see his grin again! We all had the privilege of knowing a really great guy. Thanks, Ace. Well done!