|Honored by:||Suzanne L. Bunkers|
|Brick location:||C:21 map|
Verna Mae Klein was born on October 8, 1924 on the family farm near Granville (Sioux County), Iowa. She was the second child born to Frances Kokenge and Theodore Klein whose parents had immigrated to the United States from Luxembourg during the mid-1800s.
Verna grew up on the farm and attended a one-room country schoolhouse until she had completed the eighth grade. Then she went to work fulltime on the farm with her parents and older brother, Marcel. Five younger sisters and brothers (Lois, Jim, Merlyn, Clarice, and Tommy) eventually completed the Klein family. During the mid-1940s Verna took a job as the hired girl for the Foreman family of nearby Alton, Iowa. She boarded with the family during the weeks and returned to her family's farm on weekends.
One day when stopping in at the Granville post office to mail a letter, she introduced herself to Jerome (Tony) Bunkers, the assistant postmaster, and she invited him out to the Klein farm to play cards. Verna and Tony began courting and they were married on June 14, 1949 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Granville. They remained there throughout their married life and five children (Suzanne, Linda, Dennis, Dale, and Daniel) were born to them. On July 26, 1978 Tony Bunkers died of a heart attack. Verna continues to live at 620 Long Street in Granville today.
She has a wide circle of friends and is a seasoned traveler who loves to spend time with her eleven grandchildren in Iowa and Arizona. Ten years ago she gave her five children a unique Christmas gift: she secretly went back to Northwest Iowa Technical College to earn her G. E. D. and became a high school graduate.
Verna Klein Bunkers is my mother. I credit her for giving me the love of learning, determination, and confidence to become a college professor. Now I hope to pass on these family traits to my young daughter, Rachel Susanna Bunkers-Harmes. I am enclosing a copy of "Growing Up", Verna's memories of her life as written in a journal that my mother gave to me. I am also enclosing a copy of a poem that sums up how I feel about my mother and my daughter, both of whom I love very much.
"The Bridge" by Dorothy Hallard
The way I walk
I see my mother walking
My feet secure and firm upon the ground.
The way I talk
I hear my daughter talking
And hear my mother's echo in the sound.
The way she thought
I find myself now thinking
The generations linking
In a firm continuum of mind.
The bridge of immortality I'm walking--
The voice before me echoing behind.