Albion Interactive History / People / Minna Bunde

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People

Bunde, Minna (1880-1958); Bunde, Clara (1887-1973)

Minna Bunde was born January 2, 1880, in Prussia. Clara was born in Albion on July 3, 1887, the year that Minna, her parents, and two brothers moved here. The sisters cooked for Boosters and Knockers for many years and for Albion families, including that of Harry Parker of Albion Malleable Iron Company. They also catered luncheons, dinners and special events. In earlier years, Clara had worked in an Albion cigar factory.

Their property at 904 Burr Oak extended back to the Corning Glass/Guardian plant property fence. On it they had not only fruit trees, but also a grape arbor, berries of all kinds, asparagus, a wildflower garden, and chickens. A cow for milk and butter was staked out in a vacant lot across North Street, along with other neighborhood cows.

The Bunde sisters prepared food in their own small kitchen; the tin-topped counters were low to match their stature. In later years they transported the food in a spotless black Ford coupe which Clara drove. When they served at the Mary Sheldon Ismon clubhouse, they had to carry their kettles up to the third floor.

The sisters were well-known characters, who liked people who cleaned up their plates. They shared leftover food, especially during the Great Depression, and welcomed people in to use their telephone. Hostesses often did not know how much they would be charged for their parties, but it was never too much.

Thrifty and tidy, the sisters used 25-watt lightbulbs throughout their home and traded in their chicken feed bags at the mill for the nickel refund. They even swept the gutter in front of their house.

As staunch Lutherans, their pastor was their spiritual adviser, but when they wanted a practical opinion such as what kind of seeds to plant, they went to Albion College physical education professor and noted gardener Dale Sprankle, even though they were very fine gardeners themselves. They sometimes brought gifts of fruit to him and would always insist on placing those gifts directly into his hands.

Minna died on March 8, 1958. Clara lived for another 15 years, passing away on October 18, 1973.

Source: Albion Public Library, Local History Room

From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.

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