Why We Support Hospice: Norene Bunker’s Story

Norene Bunker and InnigersOver the years, we have heard about hospice care, talked about it, and even supported it. But the concept of care really came to life when we witnessed, firsthand, the work of Hospice of the Red River Valley for our dear, family friend Norene Bunker. Only after seeing the care in action could we truly appreciate hospice.

Norene was an amazing lady. She, and her husband, Art, well-known as generous philanthropists, gave abundantly of their time and resources to countless organizations and individuals. After a lifetime of giving, how appropriate that Norene received a tremendous gift at the end of her life—she was allowed to die the way she wanted.

Norene BunkerEver independent, Norene was used to making decisions and doing things her way. Death was no different. Art’s passing, in 2009, prompted Norene to consider her own end-of-life wishes. When the time came, she knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to say so, even when her choices were unpopular. We were so grateful Hospice understood.

Always an intensely private woman, Norene specifically requested no one be present when she passed—not family, friends, or even a nurse. She wanted to be alone. Well-meaning friends and family didn’t always agree with her decisions, but Norene’s requests were her own. On March 26, 2013, Norene peacefully passed away, alone, while watching the news—an activity she loved.

For four months, Hospice nurses and CNAs had cared for Norene, and kept her comfortable and pain-free, all the while preparing us. We felt anxious, but Hospice reassured us and educated us on the stages of death so we knew what to expect. Even now, months later, we still receive bereavement support. When Norene made the decision to go on hospice care, at the time, we had no idea what a wonderful gift she was giving us.

Norene and Art BunkerWe learned it takes a truly special team of professionals to provide hospice care, and the support of the entire community to ensure this care continues in the future. Norene felt a special joy in helping and giving, and Hospice of the Red River Valley needs our support. We can think of no better way to honor Norene’s memory than by giving to those who gave her, and us, so much.

Please join us in continuing Norene and Art’s philanthropic legacy by giving your gift to Hospice of the Red River Valley.


Erv and Linda Inniger