Edward Cornell “Neil” Bunkley Sr. was born into this life on July 2, 1951 in Youngstown, Ohio. The first born of 13 siblings, he was a natural-born, charismatic leader who loved God, his family, and his life's work. After graduating North High School in 1970, his compassion for helping others led him to start his career as a case worker for organizations like the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Detention Center, Daybreak, and Mahoning County Children Services Board, where he shaped the lives of countless youth. Personal struggles led him to walk into the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley in 1994 as a client, yet his faith in God, perseverance, strength, and earned "PhD in life" allowed him to rise in the ranks to Director of Client Services. His commitment to the plight of homeless persons and people in recovery and his passion for helping others was recognized in 2004 when he was awarded the Advocacy Award for Outstanding Community Service. He built upon that accomplishment and his 32-year legacy of lifting up others to return to Daybreak in 2006 to ultimately become the Operations Manager. Here, he spent the balance of his career continuing his life work by providing guidance and support to homeless, "throwaway," and undeserved youth and their families.
The workplace is only one of many places that Neil's loving light shined. It shone just as bright for his family, friends, and co-workers, who he loved to no end. With them he could be found enjoying a glass of wine on the patio of the home he shared with his wife Linda, doting proudly and lovingly on his children, loudly belting out oldies but goodies at a concert, dancing to the Whispers, cheering on the Steelers, being a counselor and advisor through gut wrenching laughter and consoling words of wisdom. He was so many things to so many people until life threw him a curveball in 2021, when he fought the good fight with resilience and determination until he was called home to God on October 30, 2022.
He leaves to cherish his memories his beloved wife, Linda Dixon-Bunkley; his children, Dr. Latisha (David) Bunkley-Burch and Edward Bunkley, Jr. of Canal Winchester, Ohio, Valencia Bunkley of Warren, Ohio, and Emmanuel Bunkley, Sr. of Youngstown, Ohio; his siblings Deborah Gray, Elizabeth (Howard) Murray, Wlliie White, Linda White, Maxine White, Beatrice White of Dayton, Ohio, Bertenna White of Seattle, Washington, and Kenneth (Siesta) Cochrane, Debra Johnson Cochrane, Donnie Morris, Saud Cochrane, Omar Cochrane, and Nakebba Cochrane of Youngstown, Ohio; his grandchildren Nikayla Bunkley of Canal Winchester, Ohio, Gwennell Provitt of Warren, Ohio, Lyesha Dixon of Cleveland, Ohio, and Emani Bunkley, Emmanuel Bunkley, Jr., and Sariah Bunkley of Youngstown, Ohio; his step daughters Leona Dixon and Lyieshia Dixon and step son Melvin Dixon Jr. of Youngstown, Ohio; Step Grands Breona Pierce & Benjamin Dixon; his fur baby Kaine Bunkley; two great grand sons and a host of cousins, nephews, nieces, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father Curtis (Barbara) Cochrane, his mother Beatrice White, his brothers Gareth White and Curtis (Elizabeth) Cochrane, and his first wife Gwendolyn Bunkley-Jenkins, and several beloved aunties, uncles, cousins, and friends.