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Kentucky Living remembers U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, 1931-2017

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning. Photo: U.S. Senate

Kentucky Living extends condolences to the family of U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, the Southgate, Kentucky, native who is the only person ever elected to both the U.S. Senate and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bunning died on Friday, May 26.

Sen. Bunning’s obituary and funeral arrangements are below.

Bunning’s family released a statement saying that he died from complications related to a stroke he suffered in October. “The family is deeply grateful for the love and prayers of Jim’s friends and supporters. While he was a public servant with a Hall of Fame career, his legacy to us is that of a beloved husband, caring father, and supportive grandfather.”

Kentucky Living interviewed Bunning during his first Senate term in 1999, and included him in a feature about baseball stars from Kentucky. Click on the photos below for the articles.

U.S. Senators Jim Bunning (left) and Mitch McConnell on the cover of the September 1999 Kentucky Living
Jim Bunning pitches during a practice game with the Detroit Tigers in 1957. Photo: Photofile/Getty Images from July 2004 Kentucky Living














Statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“Senator Jim Bunning led a long and storied life. From his days in the major leagues to his years as my colleague in the Senate—and the many points in between, from the City Council to the House of Representatives—Jim rarely shied away from a new adventure. This Hall of Famer will long be remembered for many things, including a perfect game, a larger-than-life personality, a passion for Kentucky, and a loving family. Elaine and I offer our sincere condolences to Mary and the entire Bunning family.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning in 1999. Kentucky Living photo by Steve Barrett


Senator Jim Bunning, 85, of Southgate, KY, and formerly of Ft. Thomas, KY, passed away on Friday, May 26, at St. Elizabeth Hospice, Edgewood, KY.

He was a former Hall of Fame pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and L.A. Dodgers. Following his baseball career, Senator Bunning began a career as a public servant. He was a former Kentucky state senator (1979-83), six-term United States congressman (1987-99), and two-term United States senator (1999-2011).

Senator Bunning was preceded in death by his parents, Lou and Gladys, his daughter Laura, and brothers Lou (Jo) and Bob (Grace) Bunning.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary Bunning (nee Theis), daughters Barb (Paul) Bunning-Stevens, Joan (Rick) Blinn, Cathy (Rocky) Sparks, Bridget (Matt Triplett) Bunning, and Amy (Terry) Towles; sons Jim (Donna) Bunning Jr., Bill (Joy) Bunning, Mark (Susan) Bunning, and David (Kay) Bunning, 35 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and many devoted nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held from 2-8 p.m., Friday, June 2, at Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home, 427 S. Ft. Thomas Ave., Ft. Thomas, KY 41075.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 3, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, 1140 Madison Ave., Covington, KY 41011 with the burial to follow at St. Stephen Cemetery, 1523 Alexandria Pike, Ft. Thomas, KY. Memorials are suggested to St. Elizabeth Hospice, 483 S. Loop Road, Edgewood, KY 41017 or St. Therese Church, 11 Temple Place, Southgate, KY 41071.


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