Claud "Bunk" Launius died June 15, 2009, at his home in Malden at the age of 86. He was the tenth child of 12 children born to John Wesley and Rachel (Hancock) Launius on May 19, 1923. Bunk and Rhoda Wagster, childhood sweethearts, were married Sept. 16, 1943.
He was a member of the First Southern Baptist Church of Malden. As a young man, he started work as a truck driver, then advancing to salesman for V.W. Tenkhoff d/b/a L.K. Ashcraft Co. After purchasing a farm, he made the decision to pursue his life goal as a farmer. For 32 years, he enjoyed his farming operation and at times grew cotton, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum, purple hull peas, alfalfa hay, and watermelons along with management of cattle and hogs.
In later years he owned and showed Tennessee Walking Horses with one horse, Delights Sundance winning the title of World Grand Champion 15.2 and Under Stallion. This honor was won at the prestigious Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn. This became an annual show attendance event for him and Rhoda.
As a farmer, he was a member of the Dunklin County Production Credit Association, Dunklin County Cotton Producer's Association, and The Agriculture Movement.
Retirement provided a different lifestyle after purchasing an Airstream travel trailer to take a loved Maltese show dog to horse shows. This led to extensive travels with the Airstream Club, traveling to 49 US states including Alaska, plus five provinces in Canada and Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper, Nova Scotia, Halifax and Prince Edward Island.
He was president of the Mo. Delta Unit for Airstream in 2008.
Survivors include Rhoda, his wife of 65 plus years; two sisters, Easter freeman of Campbell and Mildred Spence of Creve Coeur; countless nephews and nieces, a brother-in-law, J.D. Wagster and a sister-in-law, Mary Ann Stratman. Preceding him death were his parents, five brothers: Homer, Coy, Jim, Luther and Dick; four sisters: Lu Harmon, Bertha Clary, Be Gibson and Gusta Launius.
Visitation will be held Thursday, June 18, 2009 from 5-8 p.m. at Landess Funeral Chapel in Malden.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 19, 2009 at 11 a.m. at First Southern Baptist Church in Malden with Rev. Aulden LeBlanc officiating. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Malden. Memorials may be sent to First Southern Baptist Church or a charity of choice.