Bunker waves to people who showed up to help him celebrate nine decades of life. The sleigh was provided by DiAnne Ward, who owns Deepwood Farm in Bethel.

BRYANT POND — COVID-19 has forced people to get creative when holding events this year – whether it be an anniversary, birthday or milestone, things have been a bit different.
Bryant Pond resident Bellmont “Bunker” House heard about the unique ways people were celebrating, which included many drive-by birthday parades, and joked with his family about riding in a sleigh with reindeer to observe his 90th birthday. His family did all they could to make that a reality.
This past Sunday, Bunker rode in horse drawn sleigh through Bryant Pond, with close friends and generations of family there showing support. About 40 people turned out, with some standing on the side of the road and others waving from their vehicles.
“Everything went great. He was very surprised and happy,” House’s daughter, Maryanne Jordan, said. “He probably never suspected we would try to come as close as we could and get a horse and wagon.”
While the celebration certainly surprised him, as his family had hoped, it was also an all-around effort to show their affection for a man who has done so much for them . On the flip side, Bunker’s kids and grandkids are his “pride and joy” and “mean the world to him.”
Bunker, whose birthday was on the 8th, has spent most of his life in the Bryant Pond area, but was born next door in Greenwood in a tent on the shores of North Pond in 1930. He was raised by his parents, William and Lona House, and grandfather, Sockalexis Newell, a Native American of the Penobscot tribe who was well known in the area.
Bunker was educated in Woodstock schools and it was there he met his soulmate, Bessie Dunham,  who was in the same class. They married in April of 1950 and made nearly seven decades of memories together before her passing in 2019. The two raised their family in Woodstock, having four children. On Sunday, in addition to the four kids showing up, many of Bunker’s grandchildren and great grandchildren were also there cheering him on.
In total, Bunker has nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Over his life Bunker has worn several different hats, working as a boiler operator at Oxford Paper, Stowell Products and Ecko Tibbets. He also was employed by Gould Academy and Maineline Products and sold seafood from a fish truck. He spent much of his spare time crafting rustic birdhouses, a skill he learned at age 16 from his grandfather, who was a well-known wood craftsmen in the area. If Bunker ever needed Moosewood to finish one of his birdhouses, he would snowshoe into the woods and get it. He was devoted to building them and has made more than 75,000 birdhouses over the years. He has sold the houses to Lands End in Bailey Island, Maine Line Products, and has shipped them to many different states as well.
Even today, Bunker still does handiwork in his basement workshop when he can. His willingness to stay active, along with the excellent support he gets from his family are the two main things that have kept him going all these years.

Bunker with his seven of his great-grandchildren. Submitted photo.

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