Prominent Pasadena attorney Thomas Simms Bunn, Jr. passed away at his home in La
Cañada on December 15, 2012, with his devoted wife and best friend of 59 years, Elinor,
at his side.
Tom was born in Beverly Hills on November 26, 1927, and moved in 1933 to La Cañada,
where he met his lifelong best friend Patrick Sheedy. He attended La Cañada Elementary,
Elliott Junior High, and Pasadena Junior College (now PCC), and started USC at the age
of 16. While at USC he was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity as well as Skull and
Dagger, Phi Delta Phi, and Phi Alpha Theta. He was a Trojan for life. He graduated from
USC in 1946, and was the youngest graduate ever of USC law school in 1949 at the age
Tom practiced law for 62 years. He started out in partnership with his brother Wiley in
Los Angeles, then struck out on his own to Pasadena in 1966. He developed an expertise
in family law, becoming a certified specialist in the field. He received the highest rating
for both legal ability and ethics.
While Tom was growing up, the Boy Scouts played a big part in his life. He was the
first Tenderfoot, and later the first Eagle Scout, in Troop 502 in La Cañada. He greatly
enjoyed backpacking in the High Sierra. He was also an accomplished trumpet player
with a lifelong love of music. Tom was raised with strong Christian morals of honesty,
integrity, charity, and faith, and demonstrated them throughout his life.
In 1949, Tom took a cross-country trip. At aYWCAdance in Passaic, New Jersey, he fell
in love at first sight with Elinor Fritsche. He proposed on the spot. After a long-distance
courtship, they married in November 1953.
Tom graduated from OCS in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1951, and entered the United
States Navy, where he saw combat as a line officer on a destroyer in the Korean War. He
later became a proud member of Tin Can Sailors. Tom retired from the naval reserve with
the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1960. The same year, he and Elinor moved into the
home they had built in La Cañada, where she still lives today. In 1957, they joined the La
Cañada Presbyterian Church, where Tom became an Elder.
In 1985, Tom and Elinor found a second home they loved in Pine Mountain Club, which
took them away from La Cañada on most weekends. Tom became very involved in the
PMC Property Owner’s Association and almost immediately immersed himself in the
legal aspects. He chaired the Governing Documents Committee for 15 years, in the
process making many new, treasured friends. He volunteered countless hours completely
rewriting the original governing documents, doing something he loved for the benefit of
Tom’s life truly exemplified the Greatest Generation.
Tom is survived by his wife Elinor, his brothers Wiley and wife Marilyn, Bob and wife
Ardis, his children Tom III and wife Gerrie, Karla, and Richard, seven grandchildren,
and one great-grandchild.
Donations may be made to San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity, 400 S. Irwindale
Av., Azusa, CA 91702.