Dale Laverne Bunse passed away on November 25th, 2023 in Salem, Oregon. He was born in Flaxville, Montana, in February 1939, the middle child between brothers Don and Richard – the first of Geneva Sherseth and Clayton Bunse’s sons to be born in a “hospital” and the last to be born in Montana. Over the years, all three would become professional artists.
After spending the war years in the San Francisco Bay Area, the family relocated to Oregon and Dale attended Salem schools and then Willamette University. Dale studied painting and ceramics and spoke with great admiration for his professors, especially Carl Hall and Dr. Cameron Paulin. He met his former wife Loie van Loben Sels at Willamette and they both then attended Arizona State University. After daughter Meta was born, Dale’s first job as an art instructor was at Maryville College in Tennessee. Dale and Loie had their son Garth before returning to the West where Dale taught art for nearly 30 years at Columbia Community College in California’s Sierra foothills. He loved the creative process and creative people and helping students discover art. He was a prolific painter and potter and founded the Clayton Gallery in Jamestown where he often hosted other artists’ shows. Dale’s travels throughout the Western US, and trips to Europe, Mexico, South America, China, and Uzbekistan infused his teaching and his art and he enjoyed bringing those experiences, cultures, and environments into his work.
For the past 25 years, Dale lived in cooler, greener Oregon. Even after retiring, he did not stop painting, sketching, throwing pots, or teaching. He volunteered many hours at the Willamette Art Center in Salem, where he could be “the old guy who knows stuff!” In Independence, he joined the River Gallery, collaborating on projects and life drawing and gallery shows with his brother Richard and dozens of other talented artists. Dale maintained a studio and home with his love, Laurie Chambreau. Throughout, he drew inspiration and joy from the rolling hills of the Willamette valley and its surrounding mountains and forests. For him, and those who went along for the ride, every bend of the road and each curve of the hill was a landscape waiting to be painted.
A retrospective will be held at the River Gallery in Independence on January 26th. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Willamette Art Center, or make a local artist’s day and buy art!