Melinda I. Bunton, 67, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, several days after undergoing surgery for appendiceal cancer. Melinda was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1956 to Keith L. Bunton and June (Heath) Bunton. She grew up in a close-knit neighborhood in Jacksonville, forming friendships that would endure throughout her lifetime. Her childhood summers were idyllically spent at the family compound in Keystone Heights at Lake Geneva, FL where the Bunton, Robinson, Richardson, and Cox children (and others) spent their days swimming, water skiing, canoeing, paddle boating, and sailing.
Melinda graduated from N. B. Forrest High School and received her undergraduate degree in Classical Language Studies and Special Education from Mercer University. While at Mercer, Melinda was a fun-loving, active member of the Gamma Iota Chapter of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. She was a White Rose (little sister) for the Zeta Omega chapter of Lambda Chi. Melinda earned MED and EDS degrees in Exceptional Child Studies at Georgia Southern University.
Melinda taught at Southeast Bulloch High School as an Interrelated Special Education Teacher from 1981 to 2008. She also taught Latin for several years. She was Department Chair from 1995-2007 and was a member of the school leadership team. Melinda was named Southeast Bulloch High School Teacher of the Year in 2001. She served as Demonstration Teacher for Georgia Southern University and mentored new special education teachers. Her students loved her, and in later years she was often approached by former students who credited her with their high school success.
Melinda grew up in Girl Scouts and as an adult she was very active in the Girl Scout Program in Statesboro. In 1989 she formed a Daisy Troop for the girls in her daughter’s daycare class at Pittman Park Education Center. The troop progressed through Brownies and Juniors. She also served as the neighborhood Girl Scout cookie chairman for several years. Melinda received the Savannah Girl Scout Council Honor Pin for ten years of program development for girls.
She also received the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award in 1993. She was the Director of the Savannah Council Girl Scout Day Camp in 1994, which was listed in USA TODAY that same year as one of the top 100 summer programs for children. Melinda will be remembered as an avid gardener who loved spending time in her beautiful yard. She was a gifted seamstress with couturier level skills. For 20 years she created custom costumes for Director Shay Morgan of Statesboro School of Dance for the annual Nutcracker Ballet. Melinda was a loving mother and grandmother as well as a devoted friend to many.
She enjoyed having lunch with “The Birthday Club” ladies of Wendwood Drive. She regularly attended reunions of her childhood friends, her college sorority, and the teachers at Southeast Bulloch High School. Melinda was a “best friend” to many people and to say that everyone will miss her deeply is an understatement. Melinda is preceded in death by her beloved mother “Junebug” and her nephew Billy Thompson. She is survived by her loving daughter Leigh Anne Wright DiVito (Robby), her grandchildren Brody Robert DiVito and Charlotte June DiVito, her father Keith Bunton, her brother Chris Bunton (Debbie), and numerous friends.
Visitation will be held at Joiner Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro on Friday, November 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. There will be a celebration of life service on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 11 a.m. at Statesboro Worship (formerly The Belle House) 380 Westside Road, Statesboro, GA 30458.
Melinda loved flowers and Christmas. You would honor her memory by wearing something floral or a shade from the Christmas season to her celebration.
In lieu of flowers please plant something in your own garden in memory of Melinda or donate in Melinda’s memory by directing your gifts to St. Joseph’s Candler Foundations towards Advancements in Cancer Care. Donations may be mailed to 5356 Reynolds St., Ste. 400, Savannah, GA 31405 or online at Tribute Gifts | St. Joseph`s/Candler (sjchs.org).
Friends may sign the online register book at www.joineranderson.com.
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory in Statesboro is in charge of arrangements.