Becky Bunch both colleague and friend
By Reggie Ponder
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
I need to take this opportunity to remember my friend Becky.
Rebecca “Becky” Bunch died Sunday at age 64. She spent four decades covering Chowan County for the Chowan Herald and was a tireless advocate for all things Edenton.
For four years I was her editor at the Chowan Herald but the truth is she was mainly a friend.
Before I went to Chowan I had met Becky at the community spelling bee in Edenton around 2011 or so. Becky, Ritchie Starnes, Ann Hoffman and I had a fun time spelling but didn’t prevail in the competition even though we did well in the early rounds.
When I went to Chowan as editor I told myself that I would maintain the proper professional status and not become friends with the staff. That lasted about five minutes — if that long.
Becky and Sue — and later Bev — became not only colleagues but good friends. I was probably most grateful that Becky became a friend not just to me but especially to Jane.
I learned to count on Becky for knowledge about people and events in Chowan County. If I need to know when a festival or project started, or who started it, or why it was started in the first place, Becky could tell me.
As an editor I appreciated the care Becky always took with her work. She was deliberate about word choice and punctuation.
Stories were central to who she was. If she wasn’t writing a story she was usually telling one. As a natural storyteller she had an innate sense of pacing and narrative flow that most of us have to work at constantly. For her it seemed to be second nature.
Although she wrote many different kinds of stories, which is how it works at a community newspaper, her favorite stories were profiles of local people. I looked forward to her profiles because I always felt I knew the person after reading one.
I always tried to be fair to her about workload but she routinely went beyond expectations because that was just what she did. She wanted to cover the community as comprehensively as possible and wanted people from all walks of life to have a voice in the local paper. That meant endless hours but that was her way.
Despite her own enormous work ethic she occasionally would conclude I was working too hard and volunteer to cover an event I had planned to cover.
“You and Jane should go and just have a good time,” she said on more than one occasion.
“I’m not here to have a good time,” I would protest. “I’m here to work.”
“Just go and have a good time,” she insisted.
And I did. I had a good time in Edenton, and I have Becky to thank for encouraging me to do that.
Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.