In Memoriam – Roderick L. Bunnell

courtesy David Bunnell

[Updated 1/10/17]

Roderick L. Bunnell passed away on October 1, 2015 in Portland’s Good Samaritan Hospital –the same facility where he was born on August 4, 1930.

Rod lived in Hanford, Yakima, and Hood River while growing up, then attended Whitman College in Walla Walla and served briefly in the US Army before returning to Portland. He joined Oregon Physicians’ Service (OPS Blue Shield) as a claims analyst following his 1955 marriage, remaining with the firm for his entire career. He retired from Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon as general counsel, corporate secretary, and a major architect of the then-newly-formed Regence Group. A 1968 graduate of Lewis & Clark College’s Northwestern School of Law, he often represented Blue Cross Blue Shield in state and national legislative matters.

Rod was active in many civic groups including the Washington County Public Affairs Forum, Washington County Historical Society, Cedar Mill Community Library, Beaverton School District, and Cedar Hills UCC. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed mountain climbing, backpacking, cycling, and cross-country skiing.

Like his father (Clarence O. “Bun” Bunnell, author of Legends of the Klickitats) , he maintained a lifelong interest in Northwest history, especially that of its native cultures.   Later in life, he made a point of writing down many of the stories Bun had told over the years, and also of setting down a number of his own reminiscences.  A few of these accounts appeared in local newspapers or other journals during Rod’s lifetime, including “That Country Lawyer“, in a 2004 issue of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin.

He is survived by his wife, Sally McMillan Bunnell, sons John (Portland) and David (San Pedro, CA), daughter-in-law Jenna, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service was held at Cedar Hills United Church of Christ on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Rod’s name to Whitman College, Lewis & Clark Law School, or Cedar Hills United Church of Christ.

If you have memories of Rod, you’re both welcome and encouraged to share them below.