Two things jumped out of the extensive obituary for Louise Ganie Lambert Bundy, 91, in addition to her impressive array of accomplishments: She was born in Salt Lake City into a pioneer family of Mormons, and was an avid Nelson Eddy enthusiast. From the obituary:
Louise spent years inside the Republican political world, including being a Barry Goldwater Delegate at the1964 Republican Convention; she was the first Chairman of the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women and was the Republican candidate for Secretary of State in New Mexico in 1966 and 1968. She held numerous positions in the federal government, including working with Representative Manuel Lujan, was appointed by President Richard Nixon to the Department of Interior, and continued working in government at the Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Department of Health and Human Services. She was a member of the Reagan-Bush National Committee and President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Committee; she also worked for Project Hope.
In addition to her professional career, Louise was a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held many callings; Louise was an avid Nelson Eddy enthusiast and helped create the Nelson Eddy Scholarship Fund, thus, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Nelson Eddy Scholarship fund, or your favorite university’s music department.
The portrait painted by her daughters, a son, and a grandson was of a spunky woman, full of love and adventure, who showed charity begins at home by taking in stray people and helping Vietnamese refugees. She had a penchant for exploring dirt roads, cheering at ball games, and talking to strangers. After eight years of marriage, she had six kids in 11 years, and did everything that she could for her kids, even allowing them to raise farm animals at home. And she was active in politics and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Mom was many things, but cuddly was not one of them,” said daughter Ganie Bundy DeHart. She joked about how she grew up watching the TV show “Leave it to Beaver” and wondering why her mom wasn’t like the one played by Barbara Billingsly, who had just died a week before. “It was an alternate universe. Mom had her priorities, and cleaning wasn’t at the top of the list.”
Louise thought recipes were suggestions and replaced ingredients with no thought to consequences, such as exploding chili. She also could hit a baseball with amazing power. She once sent a ball flying that went down the top of a two-story chimney of a house near the vacant field where the kids played.
Her son Phil related how she was fiercely proud of her pioneer heritage. She fought and survived polio as a child. She was a Navy wife, but an Army mom. Her perseverance was his Dad’s embarrassment. During the time the family lived in the Washington, D.C. area, she was an avid Redskins fan. And she was a marvelous singer, a gift she gave to him and he passed on to his children. They returned the favor by performing a special musical number with violins and vocals by family members.
He also joked how Mom would bark “arf-arf” when she saw a handsome actor on TV. First it was Johnny Weismuller in the Tarzan films. Then Ricardo Mantalban in Fantasy Island; Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I.; and lastly Mark Harmon in NCIS.
And grandson Nate, whom “Grandma L” for some reason always called George, spoke about her pioneer and priestly heritage. He had gone to the hospital with his dad to give her a blessing before she died. He explained how in the Mormon tradition, the ties with our family do not end in this life. There will be a great family reunion for all.
The service featured the singing of several hymns, ending with “God be with you til we meet again.” The LDS church in which the service was held had no ornamentation in the sanctuary, and all images of Jesus in the hallways of the church depicted him speaking with people, not crucified. Louise’s body was present in a closed pine casket, and was taken for burial in the Santa Fe National Cemetery with her husband.
May the memory of Louise Ganie Lambert Bundy live on.