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August 25th, 2011 at 6:46 am

Preliminary Plans for 2012 Salt Lake City Reunion

Bunker Family Association Secretary Shirley Bunker Howell is planning next year’s 99th BFA Reunion, to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 13-17, 2012. Shirley made a report on reunion plans to the BFA at its annual meeting in Philadelphia, and published in the association’s newsletter (the Bunker Banner) earlier this month.

Utah and the West have large populations of Bunkers, mostly descended from Edward Bunker (D-185) born 1822, Atkinson, Maine. Seeking his fortune near the Great Lakes, Edward converted to Mormonism in 1845. He spent 1846 and 1847 as part of Gen. Stephen Kearny’s Army of the West in the Mexican War. His infantry unit marched from Ft. Leavenworth to Santa Fe then to San Diego. In 1850 he settled in Utah and helped found several towns. In 1850 during his return from missionary service in England and Scotland, he was Captain of the now-famous Mormon handcart companies. He founded the Town of Bunkerville, Nevada (near today’s Mesquite), that was named after him.

During our reunion next year, time will be allocated in downtown Salt Lake City for visiting the LDS History Center, the “world’s leading genealogy library.” Tours of Temple Square and the Beehive house, home of Brigham Young’s polygamous families’ are planned. We can observe a spectacular view of the city atop the 26th floor of the LDS Church Office building if time allows. A rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a must-see event; the acoustics within the Tabernacle are astounding. An optional half-hour live radio broadcast on Sunday is planned.

A bus tour will take us to the shore of the Great Salt Lake. We will hear about its history of breaking land speed records on the “flats” and learn how the salt is mined from catch basins. We’ll continue on to Kennecott and the world’s largest open pit copper mine (it’s visible from outer space); even the size of the dump-trucks’ tires will astonish you. From the deepest pit, we’ll climb aboard a tram for breathtaking views as we ascend the towering Wasatch Mountain with its premier ski-resort of Snowbird. You could say we’ll experience the reunion’s high point and low point in one day.

If you like dinosaurs, Utah claims to have discovered the most. Another tour will take us to the University of Utah and its brand new Rio-Tinto Kennecott Utah Museum of Natural History to see the skeletal remains and exhibits of these pre-historic beasts. We’ll bid ado to T’rex and his friends for a leisurely stroll through the magnificent Red Butte Gardens.

Saturday evening’s Bunker History Program will be held at the downtown 8th Ward Chapel and will include several speakers. We’ll learn about Edward Bunker’s participation in the Mexican War. Among his numerous progeny is Sharlene Wells Hawkes, 1985 Miss America, who will be a guest speaker and present a vocal solo. Can’t get much better that that!

Negotiations for a downtown hotel are not final; there may also be changes in the above listed itinerar.  This, however, will give you a general idea of what is planned for the 99th annual reunion.

If you are a BFA member living in Utah and would like to help in the reunion planning, please contact Shirley (e-mail: howellrash@comcast.net).


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