Suzanne Bunker Hopkins


Suzanne Bunker Hopkins, known to family and friends as Bunkie, died July 27 at the Broadmead Retirement Community outside of Baltimore, Md. She was 88. The daughter of a sugar industry executive in Cuba, George H. Bunker, and Katharine Stevenson Bunker, she was born in New York, N.Y., and raised in Yonkers, N.Y., and Chappaquiddick, Mass. As a young child, she spent part of each year in Cuba until the death of her father when she was 5.

After she graduated from the Garrison Forest School in Maryland, she attended the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research in New York, where her claim to fame was Elia Kazan commenting, “Nice performance, Ms. Bunker.” She then went to college at Bennington, where she continued to study drama and music theory and sang in the Octet. In 1950, she married David Luke Hopkins Jr., and they moved to New York and spent summers in Northeast Harbor, where his parents had bought a house in the 1920s.

In the late ’60s, she began a long tenure at the New York Botanical Garden, where she studied and received certificates in both botany and horticulture. Over the years, she volunteered in the rock garden, native plant garden, and the propagation range, worked on various other committees and then became the horticulture chairman of the board. For 13 years, she and another colleague scoured the East Coast collecting rare and unusual plants for a rare plant auction held every year at NYBG. She also traveled extensively with NYBG committees to everywhere from the Pyrenees to Ecuador, Normandy to Greece.

Her professional career began in the ’70s when she worked for five years doing terraces, rooftops and backyards in Manhattan. For 10 years after that, she had her own landscaping business working often with Peter Wyer Landscaping in New York City, Westchester and Connecticut. She also served on the board of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and was involved in the Institute for International Education.

In 2004, she and her husband moved year-round to their home in Northeast Harbor. She loved those years, where she continued to garden in the summers and was an active member of the Garden Club of Mount Desert and of the Cranberry Club. She loved the coast of Maine, sailing, walking on the carriage trails with her succession of dogs and living in the community year-round.

She is survived by three children: Cassandra Hopkins Watson of New York, N.Y., Suzanne Bunker Hopkins II of Cambridge, Mass., and Mount Desert, Robert Dixon Hopkins of Baltimore, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren as well as step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sisters-in-law Katherine H. Mellon and Florence H. Borda and brother-in-law C.A. Porter Hopkins as well as many nieces and nephews also survive her. Another son, David Luke Hopkins III, died in 2007; her sisters Joanne Patterson and Kappi Getsinger of Chappaquiddick also predeceased her. A memorial service will be held at St Mary’s by-the-Sea Friday, Aug. 25, at 4 p.m.

Know when to pay your respects.