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In loving memory of
Bunny Allen McBride
  • April 08, 1938
  • -
  • March 02, 2021

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Bunny Allen (B.A.) McBride of Cape Coral, Florida and Solon, Iowa passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 at Arden Courts in Ft. Myers, Florida.  A Celebration of Life will be held at a date to be named in the future in Iowa City, Iowa.

Bunny was born in Butte, Montana on April 8th, 1938 to Flossie and Lawrence ‘Mac’ McBride.  He spent his youth hiking, camping, and fishing throughout Montana. He graduated from Whitehall High School in 1956 in Whitehall, Montana. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Art in 1960 and a degree in Art Education in 1965, both from Montana State University. After serving in the United States Army as an illustrator, he received an M.F.A. from Alfred University in Alfred, New York in 1970.

Bunny McBride devoted his professional life to his students. Bunny began teaching at the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History, Ceramics Department in 1970 where he remained until his retirement in 2010. A large number of those who studied under him went on to themselves become leaders in their field.  Countless former students are now department chairs, curators, and professors.  The phenomenon of University of Iowa trained professors who studied under Bunny has been labeled the ‘Iowa Connection’ by the National Council on the Education of Ceramic Arts (NCECA). NCECA coined this term in 2010 when Bunny was honored with the ‘Excellence in Teaching Award’ at the National Ceramics Educator’s Conference in Philadelphia.

While spending nearly forty years teaching at the University of Iowa, Bunny continued to create his own work. His work received critical acclaim both nationally and internationally. His pieces were honored at the International Ceramics Competition, Nine States Ceramic Exhibition, the Cedar Creek National Teapot Show, and countless others. His pieces have been purchased by the State of Iowa and the University and are permanent installations in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the Iowa Memorial Union and other campus buildings.  His pieces are also permanent parts of multiple galleries and collections including The American Museum of Ceramic Art, The Rass C. Purdy Museum of Ceramics, the Orton Cone Foundation, The Archie Bray Foundation, and The Senator Edward Brooks collection.

He also received multiple grants, including a National Endowment for the Arts grant from the Archie Bray Foundation. He also received multiple grants that allowed him to take students to China and Korea to research ancient kiln sites. Upon returning to the University of Iowa the information was transformed into an interactive learning platform that allows students to research ancient techniques, locations, and designs of kiln sites throughout China.

In his personal life Bunny was a compassionate, devoted, and loving husband, father and grandpa.  He was ever present at gymnastics meets, Boy Scout meetings, soccer and baseball games, and band & orchestra concerts.  He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Arlene McBride; his children Heather E. Cole and husband Ken, Ryan D. McBride and husband Matt Ivey, and Justin D. McBride and wife Annette; and his beloved grandchildren Timothy Cole, Nile McBride, and Hayden McBride.  He was preceded in death by his parents Lawrence and Flossie McBride and sister, Dorothy Frisbie; He is also survived by his sister Kathleen Murrish and her husband Charles, as well as many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff at Arden Courts and Hope Hospice for their care and love for Bunny at the end of his life.  We are forever grateful for the service you performed caring for Bunny.

In lieu of flowers or other remembrances, the family has asked those wishing to honor Bunny donate to the Bunny McBride Visiting Artist Fund to help recruit artists from around the world to come to the University of Iowa to enhance the educational experience within the Ceramics Department.  Donations may be made to the following address:  UI Center for Advancement, 1 W Park Rd., Iowa City, IA 52242, Memo: Bunny McBride Fund. Donations may also be made electronically using this LINK.

Instead of flowers, the family would prefer if you would make a donation to
Bunny McBride Visiting Artist Fund *please see details at end of obituary*

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  1. Pamala Bergo Coffey says:
    04 Jun 2021
    I took graduate classes from Bunny in the 70ies and attribute my use of talents from a great mentor. Teaching art then after returing Ive continued to work with clay. I've opened an artist owned gallery and enjoy seeing his pieces in MacNider and Cedar Rapids art museums. I never got to thank him fir all his kindness Nd was looking uphis name only to find he has passed on. What a legacy he's left! Fond memories and thoughts for his family.
    Pam Bergo Coffey

  2. Steve says:
    08 Mar 2021
    Bunny was an amazing teacher. He inspired me to pursue this career. I will forever be indebted to him, and I will dearly miss him.

  3. Nicole Kilmer lit a candle:
    04 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 4, 2021 at 3:01:34 PM

  4. Ben says:
    04 Mar 2021
    Bunny was an amazing teacher and mentor. I feel privileged to have known him. I use many of the lessons he taught, especially from glaze calc, with those that I have mentored (I still pull out several hand-written/notated hand-outs from him). My thoughts go out to his family and the rest of the "Iowa Connection" ceramists around the globe.

  5. H Dee & Myrene Hoover says:
    04 Mar 2021
    Bunny was a wonderful unassuming guy. We think of him every time we set the table. H.Dee and Myrene Hoover

  6. Amy Bruss says:
    04 Mar 2021
    Arlene, Justin, Heather & Ryan- I am so heartbroken about your dad’s passing. For so many of my years, your family was my family (still is)and I was always welcomed into your home. I have so many happy memories at your house. Thank you for always looking out for me. I will always remember Bunny’s quirkiness which had me constantly laughing, and admiring him so much as an educator and artist. What a legacy. I hope memories of the times before Alzheimer’s took over will forever bring you happiness and peace. Hugs to your family. I love you all so much.

  7. Karen McCort says:
    04 Mar 2021
    My heart goes out to you and your amazing family. Your father made his mark on the world. I’m sure he was very proud of you, just as you are of him.

  8. Brianna Hoskins lit a candle:
    03 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 3, 2021 at 3:36:17 PM

  9. Brianna Hoskins says:
    03 Mar 2021
    You are deeply missed. I’m so thankful to have met you.

  10. Ethan says:
    03 Mar 2021
    Not sure what to say except I know the world is a little more sad now. Such a kind man who made me smile every time I saw him. His UIowa art studio has long been turned into green space but each time I pass by it, I can picture his brick studio.

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