Member Spotlight: Joanne Bunnell

Joanne has a passion for learning new skills and living a life of novelty. Her love for learning started with her studies at Idaho State University for nutrition. Once she earned her degree, she married her husband, Roy, and together they moved to Kennewick, WA. There, she discovered her love of fabrics and fashions and took a job in ladies tailoring, adding another skill to her list. After a while, she went back to school for interior design, with a focus on kitchen design. Using her expertise, she had her own kitchen remodeled from one of her own designs. After that, she picked up something new again, deciding to help Roy at his material science lab in Richland High, before retiring with him in 2008. Since then, Joanne has enjoyed going on Road Scholar trips. She’s traveled the world with her husband attending these lecture tours, combining her love for adventure and learning.

When she’s at home, Joanne likes to landscape, design flower beds, and care for her flowers. She also likes to spend time out on her patio reading and enjoying being outside in the heat. While moving to Bozeman is going to be a bit of a change, she’s ready for the new adventure. She says, “When the pandemic hit, my life wasn’t the same anymore, so it’s a good time to change.”

While she is going to miss the wineries and fresh fruit of Kennewick, Joanne is excited to move to Bozeman and meet new people. She and her husband didn’t really want to live in a retirement home, surrounded by the same type of people. They wanted to be around people who were different from them and hear about their new ideas. Joanne was a part of a young women’s club and spent a lot of time with her fellow members and their families doing potlucks and picnics, and playing volleyball together. She laments that they only know one of their neighbors currently, living in an otherwise unfriendly neighborhood. She is excited to move into a neighborhood designed to create a community of friendly and social neighbors. She’s also excited to have a new place to decorate and hopes she can help decorate some of the common spaces around the community. 

The growing concern about energy and conservation makes Joanne hopeful for the future. It was encouraging when she found out the members of Bozeman Cohousing were working on clean energy options and clean living. Joanne became really energetic when started talking about the ways Bozeman Cohousing was being conscious of their energy use. The idea of sharing “tools and toys” really excited her, saying it was a waste for everyone to have their own lawnmower, for example. To share a couple in the community was better for the economy and was a part of the clean living life adventure she was eager to start. She also was happy to hear that more people are becoming concerned with establishing community instead of picking a place to live and hoping you get friendly neighborhoods. She commented that people usually think she’s moving into a hippie community or transitioning to some sort of radical lifestyle when she first starts talking about Bozeman Cohousing, but as she describes it and they begin to learn more about it, they find it interesting. 

Joanne was like a kid on Christmas when talking about the idea of her new place in Bozeman, a new adventure. She talked about how she could hardly wait for their place to be finished so she could move in. In the end though, she commented “If you have to wait for something, it means more.”