All who knew Waneta Bundy would agree that she had a sparkle about her that was easy to see. She was the heartbeat of wherever she went, and her zest for life was truly contagious. A longtime resident of the community she loved, Waneta was someone everyone seemed to know. Blessed to share the majority of her life with her true love, she was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family tree blossom to include the children, grandchildren, and a great-grandson she adored. Waneta’s life was deeply rooted in faith, and her journey was a true reflection of what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.
The 1930s brought us some of the most trying days we have faced as a nation as the Great Depression blanketed our nation and much of the world. Hoovervilles, Roosevelt’s New Deal, and failing banks from coast to coast were among the events and happenings of this decade. Despite the harsh reality around them, Guy E. Tomlonson and Ethel S. (Sherck) Tomlonson were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Waneta S. on July 26, 1937, in Elkhart, Indiana. Raised on the family farm in the country outside of Bristol, Indiana, she was one of five children as she was joined in her family by her brothers, James and John, and her sisters, Martha and Nancy. Waneta attended local schools and played inner squad softball during school. After graduating from Goshen High School in 1956, Waneta enrolled in elementary education for her freshman year in college, following in the footsteps of her mother.
Of great significance in Waneta’s life during her time in college was her introduction to the young man of her dreams. His name was Francis Bundy, and although they were in World Civ class together, they didn’t officially meet until they wound up at a caroling party together at Manchester College. They started talking that night, and that soon led to a date. Their first date gave way to more dates, and by their senior year in college they were married on August 23, 1959, at West Goshen Church of the Brethren.
During her senior year in high school, Waneta began her teaching career, which would span more than 30 years. Her first job found her at McClellan Elementary School in Columbia City before actually graduating from Manchester College in 1960. Waneta and Francis then both took teaching jobs in Akron for a year before finally coming to Columbia City. She went back to the same elementary school she had been at the year prior while Francis took a position at the high school. A year later, Waneta took a position with Thorncreek Elementary School. Waneta’s final job change brought her to Mary Raber the following year, where she remained for 30 years until retiring in 1997. During this time she had also earned her master’s degree from St. Francis College in 1974.
Although her career was very rewarding, there was nothing Waneta cherished more than being with her loved ones. She and Francis welcomed two daughters, Laura and Susan, into their hearts and home. Summers found them camping at Chain of Lakes, and somehow they always managed to get the same camping spot. During the summer months, Waneta stayed home with the girls while Francis worked the summer months for Builders Mart. Much of her time was spent making clothes that the girls and she would wear for school the following year.
Throughout her life Waneta was one to keep busy. In addition to sewing and quilting, she was an avid reader, enjoyed puzzles, and was a golfer who patriated on a women’s league. In addition, Waneta and her husband took several vacations the week before school started that were focused on golfing on different courses. The goal of these vacations was to golf every day. Another memorable trip was when Waneta and Francis went to Canada and Alaska with her sister and brother-in-law in a 5th wheel trailer. They came back home through the Rockies and visited Yellowstone National Park in addition to several other national sites including Mount Rushmore and the Corn Palace. Waneta also took several bus tours with friends. Later in life she and her siblings got together for a few days to celebrate each other's birthdays. Waneta also enjoyed going to Sturgis, Michigan, to get together with her cousins in the fall.
As her family and friends can attest, there was never anything that was of greater significance in Waneta’s life than the people in her life. Within her community she was a member of the Columbia City United Methodist Church, Columbia City United Methodist Women, Whitley County Quilt Club, Philomathean Literary Society, Delta Kappa Gamma-Past President, Kappa Kappa Kappa, Beta Association - Past President and Retired Teachers, Whitley County - Past President. Waneta was a faithful member of her church and also enjoyed singing in the choir there, helping with funeral dinners, teaching Bible classes, and helping with the women’s groups.
Waneta was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandmother. She loved taking care of them and doing special things together like going to the library, the zoo, the city pool, and even just baking cookies with them. Waneta loved cooking for her family, and she was known for her chuck roast on Sundays along with soup and Stromboli on Christmas Day for lunch.
Filled with unconditional love and acceptance for everyone she met, Waneta Bundy lived a life of purpose while holding her loved ones near. She was an amazing listener who constantly encouraged others in ways both great and small. There was no greater gift in her life than her family, and Waneta treasured every moment they shared together. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Waneta S. (Tomlonson) Bundy, of Columbia City, passed away at 12:50 p.m. Sunday, September 3, 2017, at her home. Waneta’s family includes her husband, Francis Bundy; daughters, Laura (Dan) Weigold, of Columbia City, Susan Stetzel, of Columbia City; brothers, James (Mary) Tomlonson, of Warrensburg, MO and John Tomlonson, of Goshen; sisters, Martha (Ken) Kuiper, of Grand Rapids, MI and Nancy (Wayne) Yoder, of Goshen; grandchildren, Jenny Stetzel, Katie Stetzel, Kyle (Kirstie) Weigold and Anna Weigold; and great-grandson, Michael Cagle. Waneta was preceded in death by her father, Guy Tomlonson; mother, Ethel Rupel; step-father, Paul Rupel; sisters-in-law, Veva Tomlonson and Marceta Bubb.
Visitation is from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Thursday, September 7, 2017 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday at the funeral home with Pastor Fred Stayton officiating. Burial will follow at Greenhill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given in her memory to Columbia City United Methodist Church or Manchester University. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send family condolences on-line.