Percy Elvin Bunch

October 4, 1931 - July 20, 2022

10/04/1931 - 07/20/2022

Past Services

Friday July 22, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Garrett-Sykes Memorial Chapel
314 Main Street West
Murfreesboro, NC 27855
252-396-0202 | Directions
Saturday July 23, 2022
Riverside Cemetery
Murfreesboro, NC 27855
Saturday July 23, 2022
11:00 am
Murfreesboro Baptist Church
200 West Main Street
Murfreesboro, NC 27855

MURFREESBORO, NC – Percy Elvin Bunch, age 90, passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at his home.

Born in Chowan County, NC on October 4, 1931, Percy was the son of Ned Wood and Roxie
Harrell Bunch. The family moved to Hertford County when he was six years old. He graduated from Murfreesboro High School in 1950 and was enlisted in the US Army in 1955 and served in France.  Percy married Lynette Mitchell from Aulander in 1956 and the two enjoyed 66 years together. He was very proud of his wife and children and encouraged them to help in his businesses. He was proud alsoto have a son, Michael, who took over to own and run the businesses he started. Michael followed the footsteps of his father and involved his wife, Vanessa, and their own two sons. Percy’s pride also included his two daughters Fran and Julie and their families.

Percy loved life and lived it to the fullest! He was well-liked and made friends all across the
country. He loved to work, to start businesses and run them. Best known as “the watermelon man,” he also was a “peanut man,” buying peanuts for Birdsong Peanuts for 39 years. He operated his wholesale watermelon business out of Washington, DC for ten years. From that connection, he was elected as President to the National Watermelon Association where he served in leadership positions for six years. During that time, he was instrumental in founding the NC Watermelon Association, serving several terms as President.

It was evident that Percy loved the land and loved to see crops grow and flourish. He would
often enhance the land that he was fortunate to own by creating green spaces, ponds and parks. This included his pride in his home and yard where he actually was cutting grass up to three weeks before his death. Those who knew Percy were aware that he was an avid collector. He traveled far and wide collecting tractors, antique cars, and museum pieces. He always displayed his collections in a museum setting along with mannequins to share with others.

Percy loved Murfreesboro. He wanted to make it a nicer place to live. He was proud of the
Veterans Memorial at the Municipal Building, the establishment of Murfrees’ Landing Park at the Meherrin River, and the placement of the memorial marker there. Percy was especially proud to be a founder of the NC Watermelon Festival in Murfreesboro in 1986.

Percy loved his Sunday School class at Murfreesboro Baptist Church where he was a memberfor 60 years. He served in many ways, including as Deacon.

Besides his parents, Percy was predeceased by his brothers, Willis, Ervin, and Ray Bunch.

Left to cherish his memory is his devoted wife of over 66 years, Frances Lynette Mitchell Bunch, daughters, Frances Bunch Copeland and husband, William of Colerain, NC, Julie Bunch Hopf and husband, James of Greenville, NC; a son, Michael Wood Bunch and wife, Vanessa of Murfreesboro, NC; grandchildren, Matthew T. (Christina) Copeland of Clayton, NC, Meredith C. (Neal) Obert of Huntsville, AL Christopher J. (Girlie) Hopf of Zebulon, NC, Benjamin T (Courtney) Hopf of Greenville, NC, Maggie H. (Doug) Emma of Hoboken, NJ, Michael (Kelsey) Bunch II of Murfreesboro, NC, and Nicholas Bunch of Murfreesboro, NC; and nine great grandchildren. Also surviving is a sister, Doris Bunch Sumner; and brother, Leon J. Bunch both of Virginia Beach, VA.

The family will receive friends on Friday, July 22, 2022, from 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm at Garrett-Sykes Memorial Chapel, Murfreesboro, NC, and other times at the home.

A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, July 23, 2022, at 11:00 am, at Murfreesboro Baptist Church, with Rev. Lane Bass officiating. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery, Murfreesboro.

Memorial contributions may be made directly to Murfreesboro Baptist Church, 200 W. Main St., Murfreesboro, NC, 27855; or you may donate online by visiting; type Percy Bunch.

Garrett-Sykes Memorial Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Bunch family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting

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Jackie L.Elet
1 year ago

To the family, so sorry to know your love one has passed..

Debbie Cobb
1 year ago

I first met Mr B as I called him as a volunteer of the Watermelon Festival over 25 years ago and I developed a love and respect for him and Mrs Bunch over all of these years. True friends are rare in this world and I feel saddened by the loss of this special man. He will be truly missed by all that knew him and the festival this year will be sad without him enjoying his ice cream but I know he is in heaven continuing the tradition and saving a place for his watermelon family. Prayers to all the family.

Stanford Vann
1 year ago

I am so sad to hear of Percy’s passing. Murfreesboro was blessed to have he and his family as members of our community. He and Lynette were always finding ways to make Murfreesboro a better place to live. His influence will be felt forever. God bless and keep the family.

Sherrie Vann Brown
1 year ago

My deepest condolences to you all. My grandfather, Hugh Vann, thought the world of Mr. Percy. I know they will be back on those tractors on the golden streets. ❤️

Sherrie Vann Brown
1 year ago

My deepest condolences to the family. My grandfather Hugh Vann thought the world of Mr Percy, I know they will be reunited and back on the tractors in heaven ❤️

Mark Arney, Executive Director, National Watermelon Promotion Board
1 year ago

Percy was president of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in 1997.

Mark Arney, Executive Director, NWPB
1 year ago

I was so sorry to learn of Percy’s passing. My deepest condolences go out to you Frances, Michael and Vanessa and the rest of your family. Percy was certainly a leader in the industry and will be missed. Percy was a National Watermelon Promotion Board(NWPB) member from 1993-1998.

Leisha P. Shaver
1 year ago

Julie, Fran, Mike, Mrs. Bunch and family,
My heart is so saddened to hear of Mr. Bunch’s passing this week. I’d hope to pay a little visit when we come for the Festival in a few weeks.
Please know that I am praying specifically for each of you. It is so very hard to say goodbye for now, but I have experienced the truth of Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” And, I do pray you feel our Savior’s comfort wrap around you like a blanket as you grieve. I’m so very thankful that we don’t grieve “as those who have no hope,” and that you know you will one day be together. Truly, what a day of rejoicing that will be.

I’m hugging each of you in my heart with great fondness of you, my Murfreesboro days and all the times I hung out at your house and enjoyed your friendship through the years. What great contributions Mr. Bunch made in so many ways, and I know how proud you all are of him.
Hugs and Love,

Rad and Margie tillett
1 year ago

Our deepest sympathy in your great loss.

1 year ago