Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Wednesday, November 07, 2007 at 12:42:18 :
Monday, August 4, 1975
Retired Superintendent James G. Bunker, 63
James G. Bunker, who retired a month ago as superintendent of the Novato Unified School District, died last week while vacationing in London, family friends here learned during the weekend.
Bunker, 63, was on a two-month trip with his wife, Irene, when he died. The couple was scheduled to return to their Novato home later this month.
Bunker, superintendent of the Novato district since 1962, had planned to work as a consultant to a legal firm which specializes in education and contract negotiation.
The dean of Marin superintendents before his retirement, Bunker started his career in 1936 as historical research instructor at the University of California at Berkeley, where he was working on his doctorate.
Later, however, he left the university to pursue a career in high school teaching and administration. In 1942, he was named principal of the Greenville Junior and Senior High School in Plumas County.
At that time, he also served on the Plumas County Board of Education, which was made up of professionals.
Six years later, he was appointed superintendent of the Red Bluff High School District and in 1952 became superintendent of the Coalinga High School and College District in Fresno County.
He moved to the Novato district in 1962 after turning down jobs in Southern California because he wanted to live in the Bay Area.
The Novato district had only 4,200 students when Bunker arrived and about tripled that number during his 13 years as superintendent.
During his college days, he was a baseball pitcher, specializing in a sweeping curve. He also played semiprofessional ball for a while. In later years, he became an avid golfer.
Bunker was a native of Sacramento and was a descendent of California pioneers.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Michael, and two daughters, Catherine and Sarah. He is also survived by a brother, John Bunker of Coalinga.
A memorial service for Bunker, who made his home on Rowland Court, is being planned. The time and date will be announced later.
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