Donny was born June 26, 1989, in Fairbanks, the second of three children to his proud parents Donald W. (Don) and Jeanne Bunselmeier and into the extended Bunselmeier-Cummings family in Delta Junction where he was much loved by his siblings Chad and Danielle; grandparents, Dean and Vi; uncles, Jimmie and Deannie; aunt, Sue; and cousins, James, Shannon, Jared, Joseph, Jesse, Brandon, Arthur, Craig, Ryan and Patsy.
Donny was known for his full speed ahead, passionate approach to life, which was typified by his participation in sports and anything outdoors. In high school, he played baseball, basketball and football. He also loved hunting and fishing particularly at the family cabins on George Lake. He spent as much time as possible boating, snowboarding, snowmachining, wake-boarding, riding his side-by-side ATV, playing softball and spending time around a bonfire with his family and friends.
Life-long friend Steve Dubois recalls one incident during a Delta vs. Valdez high school football game which typifies Donny’s approach to life. “As a freshman, Donny was a very tough running back for Delta’s team and he was running with the ball through the Valdez line when he got tackled so hard that mere mortals would have been out of the game. Donny’s coach called him to the side lines, checked him over and sent him right back into the game where he continued to play with passion.”
Donny graduated from Delta Junction High School in 2008, and then entered the IBEW apprenticeship program where after graduation he worked as an electrical lineman on jobs across the state.
While living in Fairbanks, Donny met Becca Walker. Together Donny and Becca had daughters Claire and Savannah. Donny’s fun-loving nature always made his time with the girls special. Donny drew a sheep permit the same year Savannah was born, but after three days he was missing his newborn daughter so much he came home.
For the past five years, Donny was a journeyman lineman. Cousin and coworker James recalls working with Donny, “The first time that I had a chance to work with Donny was last year. We worked through the big snowstorm together. Sean, Donny and I made up our three-man crew. We used our grandpa’s old Bearcat to transport the three of us up and down the right of way cutting trees out of the lines and turning the lights back on. Donny would drive the sled and Sean and I would stand on either side of him as he tried to navigate through the waste deep snow. There were a couple times that we ended up in a big pile tipped over on the right of way. I can still hear him laughing kind of muffled like because his head was buried in the snow. He knew how to make a guy laugh with his great sense of humor. He was the kind of guy that was great to have on a crew. Donny knew how to have a good time in life and at work.
Even though he was a huge jokester he was also very professional when he knew it was time to be. When working with him you knew that he was always watching your back. Donny was the guy that you could trust with your life and the one that never thought twice about telling you your idea wasn’t safe or that he knew a faster way to do it. He would work his butt off rain or shine. He was the first to get his tools out of the truck to climb a pole. He was a great highway operator. For me working on the line with him was some of the best times that I have had. Myself as well as many others that worked alongside Donny on the right of way will never forget him. Many of the lineman in this town had the pleasure to work with him more than I and I believe they would all agree that he is what linemen like to call ‘a hand.'”
Donny met Amanda Oliver on New Year’s Eve in 2014 at a bonfire. She had recently moved back to Delta to work. They have been inseparable since then. Amanda was always up for any adventure with Donny, whether it was moose hunting, Valdez fishing, snowmachining at Summit. She was always there with him. Donny and Amanda got married on July 15, 2017. They bought a home in Delta and in September 2018 Donny got a permanent job in Delta with Doyon. Donny was living the life he had always hoped for.
Donny was easy to love and loved back earnestly. If some how a person he met didn’t start out as his friend they usually still became one. He would without hesitation go out of his way to help friends, family, neighbors and strangers with no expectation of getting anything in return. Regardless of what situation he was in, he was always true to himself. He was kind, good hearted, good natured, caring and just being around him could help lift a person’s spirit. Donald Dean Bunselmeier was a unique individual, truly one of a kind.
Donny was preceded in death by grandfathers Everett D. Bunselmeier and Dean W. Cummings, uncle Dean W. Cummings, and cousin Larry Braun.
He is survived by his wife, Amanda; parents, Don and Jeanne; daughters, Claire and Savannah; grandmothers, Erma Bunselmeier and Vi Cummings; brother and sister-in-law, Chad and Melissa; sister, Danielle; uncles, Jim Cummings, Del Bunselmeier and Dan Noziska; aunts, Sue Jenkins and Kathy Braun; and cousins, James (Stacey), Jared (Zaz), Craig (Rachel), Jesse (Amy), and Arthur Cummings; Joe and Brandon Jenkins; Patsy Cummings Anderson (Isaac); Shannon Morley (Chris); Ryan Kindy; Shannon Braun; Makila and Berkeley Bunselmeier; Whitney and Kasey Noziska.
We raised $4,690 in donations and took 12 families shopping. Each child got to spend $350 towards presents for siblings. We also provided a lunch consisting of 7 pizzas and drinks. At the end after wrapping presents each family member was provided a Christmas ham for dinner. Merry Christmas!
Submitted by Trooper Ricky J. Merritt