Columbus, Ohio USA
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Flytown Family Loses Loving and Devoted Member
Harrison Bundy Jr. (1937-2005)
By Jennifer Hambrick
Harrison Bundy Jr.
This year’s Flytown reunion will be tinged with sadness as attendees mourn the sudden death of longtime Flytown reunion organizer Harrison Martin Bundy Jr.
Bundy died of an aneurysm June 5 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was 68. A funeral service took place June 11 in Atlanta and was followed by a memorial service at Columbus’ Macedonia Baptist Church on June 17.
Bundy, a Columbus native and more recently a resident of Lillian, Alabama, was instrumental in reviving the annual Flytown reunions in Goodale Park in the early 1980s after a several-year hiatus. This year’s reunion on July 9 is the twenty-third reunion Bundy organized.
Friends and family remember Bundy as a kind person with a desire to bring people together.
“He was a good person, very outgoing,” Bundy’s sister Barbara Withers said. “There was nothing bad about him. He loved people. He was always doing something for older people – trying to give them something or going to the store for them. When he got the reunions together in Goodale Park, he was concerned about the old people, bringing them together.”
“He was a very nice, friendly person,” said longtime friend and former Flytown resident Charles Douglas. “He would’ve helped you any way he could.”
Former Flytown resident Norman Jones, now of St. Petersburg, Florida, remembers Bundy for his down-home values. “He was God-fearing,” Jones said. “He was very kind, very open, very sincere. He was kind of unusual because he had qualities that were ingrained in all of us in the ‘40s and ‘50s that are almost totally gone now.”
“He always respected me because I was older,” said Asbury Wade, 79.
Even before Bundy’s death, former Flytown residents were concerned about the future of the annual reunions, as each year saw the passing of organizers and regular participants.
But almost prophetically, in an announcement at last year’s Flytown reunion, Bundy tried to insure a long future for the annual event.
“My brother said last year, ‘If something happens to me, I want you all to keep this going,’ and they said they would,” Withers said. “One of (Bundy’s friends) called here and told me ‘it isn’t going to be the same, but we’ll try to do it.’”
“Younger guys will probably take it over,” Wade said.
Not only will they have to take over the logistics of organizing the annual reunions, they also will have to replace Bundy’s other contributions, which sizzled away at each reunion’s fish fry.
“Bundy would catch fish and bring it up to the Flytown Reunions,” Wade said. “He donated everything out of his own pocket. He wanted it to be like a family reunion, He supplied all of the food and did everything.”
“He would catch all the fish and filet it and freeze it,” Withers said. “He would start fishing around March (in Alabama). Then he would go to Michigan and fish with my nephews. Then he would come back here a couple weeks before the reunion.”
Bundy lived in the section of Columbus known as Flytown until 1956, when he joined the Air Force. He worked as an engineer for General Motors in Detroit, Michigan for 30 years before retiring and moving to the gulf shore of Alabama in 1993. He is survived by his wife Evonne Bundy, his sisters Barbara Withers, of Columbus, and Audrey Truss, of Detroit and many other relatives.
Karl Hairston, a Flytown native, longtime Columbus resident and a friend of Bundy’s, says this year’s reunion won’t be the same. “Everybody that came to the reunion would have been looking for Bundy. Everybody really looked forward to the reunion every year. He’s really going to be missed.”
At the July 9 Flytown reunion, Bundy’s friends will speak in his honor and, at noon, one minute of silence will be observed.
“This reunion we will dedicate to Harrison,” Jones said. “He kind of exemplified what Flytown was about: he cared about people. He was a wonderful guy.”
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©2005 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All Rights Reserved.