Bruce Stephen Bunce of East Hampton died on June 13 in Lady Lake, Florida, having briefly relocated there to be cared for and comforted by family members due to complications of recently diagnosed cancer. He was 60.
Born in Amityville on February 19, 1953, he was the first of five children of Albert J. and Patricia Bunce of Lady Lake, former longtime residents of East Hampton.
After attending East Hampton High School, Mr. Bunce pursued his love for cooking and eventually, with no formal training and only natural talent, worked with and under some of the best chefs in the area, his family said. Gordon’s of Amagansett, The Maidstone and the former Spring Close House in East Hampton were among the establishments where he worked for many years. His family said some of their favorite dishes were his “unrivaled” stuffed flounder and scampi. His creamed spinach took top honors, recalled Robin Shepard, to whom he would never divulge his exact recipe even though she was his “favorite (and only)” sister.
Mr. Bunce eventually partnered in his family-owned business of Long Island Coffee Company and Vermont Pure bottled water distributor for many years, until the company was sold. He had been working for Gosman’s Fish Market in Montauk upon learning of his illness.
Survivors said he was a great father, son, brother, uncle and brother-in-law, and that he enjoyed family gatherings and all of his family members, who loved him dearly.
He is survived by both parents, Patricia and Al; his only son, Robert Bunce of Hicksville; four siblings, Robin Shepard and husband Donny of North Carolina, Michael Bunce Sr. and wife Jeanne of Water Mill, Kevin Bunce Sr. and wife Meg of East Hampton, and Keith Bunce and wife Lynda of North Carolina; and his former wife, Patricia (nee Voohries) Bunce. He is also survived by nieces and nephews, John Knight, Amy Commander, Donny Shepard Jr., Michael Bunce Jr., Christopher Bunce, Kevin Bunce Jr. and Georgia Bunce. He was great-uncle to Jack and Stephen Commander, who survive him. A good friend, Maria Delvecchio, also survives. Upon learning of her uncle’s passing, his youngest niece, Georgia, carefully illustrated a card and in the simple words of an eight-year-old wrote: “Dear Uncle Bruce, I hope you had a good time on earth. I will miss you. Love, Georgia.”
On Sunday, June 16, a small private service was held in Lady Lake by a family pastor. At his request, Mr. Bunce’s ashes will be spread off Montauk Point during a memorial service to be held there in October. Letters of condolence can be sent to Pat and Al Bunce, 1626 Bay Meadows Lane, Lady Lake, Florida 32159.
Memorial donations may be made to the Montauk Lighthouse Museum, P.O. Box 943, Montauk, NY 11954.