John W. Bunting III (Baltimore Sun / October 10, 2008)

John W. Bunting III, a former program specialist for the state Department of Social Services who was an HIV/AIDS activist, died Nov. 5 of heart failure at his Sutton Place Apartments home. He was 69.

The son of a salesman and a school teacher, John William Bunting III was born in Huntington, W.Va., and was a 1962 graduate of Barboursville High School in Barboursville, W.Va.

He attended the University of Baltimore and served in the Navy from 1966 to 1968 aboard the carrier USS Independence.

Mr. Bunting was operations manager for the Hecht Co. department store from 1971 to 1993, and was manager of the office of community research development for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services from 1999 to 2008.

For three years, until his retirement in 2011, Mr. Bunting had been a program specialist for the state Department of Social Services. In addition, he was a part-time English teacher in city public schools.

Mr. Bunting received the Public Citizen of the Year Award in 1993 from the Maryland Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

He was an active HIV/AIDS volunteer and worked closely with the African-American gay community, family members said.

Mr. Bunting was the former chairman of the Baltimore City Commission HIV/AIDS and chaired the 1991 AIDSwalk, and participated in AIDS vaccine trials at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

He was a former member of the board of Santa Claus Anonymous.

A celebration of Mr. Bunting's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Palm Room at the Belvedere Hotel, 1 E. Chase St.

Mr. Bunting is survived by two sisters, Karen C. Neff and Jaynel B. Hanks, both of Dalton, Ga.; and many nieces and nephews.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com