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Welcome to the memorial page for

May Irene (Cornell) Bunts

May 10, 1926 ~ July 28, 2017 (age 91)

May Irene (Cornell) Bunts, 91, of Nampa, passed away at a local care facility on Friday, July 28, 2017 following a series of strokes over four months. A Memorial Service to honor and celebrate her life will be held at 12 Noon on Friday, August 4, 2017 at the College Church of the Nazarene, 504 E. Dewey Ave. in Nampa. A private inurnment will be at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise. Services are under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel, 415 12th Ave. So. – 442-8171. An online guest book and the complete obituary are available at

May Bunts was born on May 10, 1926 in Fargo, ND, the third of five children born to J.R. and Minnie Christiansen Cornell. May grew up in rural Moorhead, MN. In 1937 the family moved to a dairy farm in Nichols, NY on the banks of the Susquehanna River. She graduated from Nichols High School in 1944 and attended Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA, graduating in 1948. She returned to Nichols to teach English at her High School until 1951. She earned her Masters of Arts Degree in Drama-Literature from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY in 1954. May met and began dating her husband-to-be, Larry Bunts in Brooktondale, NY at a Nazarene Camp meeting in 1943. Larry’s service as a Navy corpsman during WWII delayed their marriage until August 19, 1950. They married in Binghamton, NY and moved to Nampa, ID in 1954. She taught English at College High on the campus of Northwest Nazarene College from 1954 to 1957. May and Larry moved to Berkeley, CA in 1957 where May taught English at Berkeley High School until 1987. Her students remembered her as a lover of words, poetry, reading books and baseball. For the last 17 of her 30 years at Berkeley she annually taught two sections of  “Bible as Literature.”  Students wrote of May, “Not only has she taught English and Literature, but she taught us how to live like Christ.”  In 1959, May and Larry rode with friends from Berkeley to Nashville from where they flew to Detroit. There they picked up her new Thunderbird from the Ford factory before driving from there to New York and back to California. May took a leave of absence during the 1961-1962 academic year to give birth to their only child, Rhea Laurie Bunts Jenkins on October 12, 1961. Rhea was named after May’s longtime friend, Rhea Ross Miller, wife of Nazarene General Superintendent H.V. Miller and composer of the well known gospel song, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” May and Larry returned to Nampa in 1987. She taught English at Greenleaf Friends Academy from 1987 to 1996, completing 48 years of teaching. May became a grandmother in 1992 with the birth of Jazman Jenkins. The births of grandchildren, Ezekiel, Joshua, Jade and Zephaniah followed over the next decade. Jazman made May a great grandmother of Aisling and Elizabeth in 2011 and 2015. 

May is survived by her husband of 67 years, her daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings.

May was a member of the Church of the Nazarene for over 70 years having been a part of the church in Fargo, ND; Owego, NY; Brooktondale, NY; Oakland, CA; and College Church of the Nazarene in Nampa.

The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the May Bunts Scholarship at Northwest Nazarene University, 623 S. University Blvd., Nampa, Idaho 83686.


 Service Information

Memorial Service
August 4, 2017

12:00 PM
College Church of the Nazarene
504 E. Dewey Ave
Nampa, Id

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