Rita Hess Bunn, July 9, 1932-March 15, 2013, of Columbia

Saturday, March 16, 2013 | 5:46 p.m. CDT; updated 6:44 p.m. CDT, Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rita Hess Bunn, 80, of Columbia, MO, passed away March 15, 2013.

She was born July 9, 1932, in Decatur, IL to Harold and Lavina (Watkins) Hess.

Rita graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1954 with a Bachelor's in Music from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Following graduation, she studied piano with a number of noted pianists: Betty Travis of Decatur, Illinois; Hans Anwander of the State Conservatory of Music in Cologne, Germany; Dalies Frantz of Austin, Texas and Vladimir Horowitz, the Russian American virtuoso pianist. She met her husband of nearly 60 years while studying in Germany and they were married March 29, 1955. After returning to the United States to live, she continued her study of music, graduating with a Masters of Music in 1958 from the University of Texas at Austin. During this time, she served as both member and chapter president of Sigma Alpha Iota, the national music society. In 1959, she gave birth to the first of three daughters. As her husband's employment took the family to new cities, Rita taught piano and performed. She played second violin with the Baton Rouge, LA, orchestra and later played with the Houston Civic Symphony. As a child, though, she'd always wanted a horse so in 1968, she finally bought one. This soon led to the purchase of another.  When the family moved to Columbia, MO in 1980, they bought some acreage and established an Arabian horse farm where the next many years were spent breeding champion Arabian horses and training and showing them at both regional and national horse shows.

In addition to her devoted husband, Ronald Bunn, Rita is survived by her three daughters: Robin Popp (Adam) of Houston, TX, Katharine Bunn (Mike Cusack), and Lisabeth Franks (Ed), both of Columbia, MO; and six grandchildren: Dakota Turrentine, Mihka Turrentine, and Garrett Popp, all of Houston, TX, and Ryan Franks, Kayla Franks, and Kyle Franks all of Columbia, MO.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

There will be a Celebration of Life at 11:00 am on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at Memorial Funeral Home.

Online tributes may be left at

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.