Shakeem Jawon Bunyon Bristow

August 11, 2001 ~ January 9, 2024 (age 22) 22 Years Old

Shakeem Bunyon Bristow Obituary

Mr. Shakeem Jawon Bunyon Bristow, age 22, of Sanford, NC entered eternal rest on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.

Knowing & Remembering Shakeem 

August 11, 2001–January 9, 2024 

Shakeem Jawon Bunyon Bristow, 22, of Sanford, North Carolina, passed away on January 9, 2024 at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill from injuries he sustained in a car accident. Shakeem made a profound difference in his 22 years of life. He was respectful, tenderhearted, kind, obedient and compassionate. He knew and loved the Lord and diligently sought to grow in his relationship and to live by God’s commands. His electric smile and infectious personality endeared him to everyone he met. He loved being outdoors, walking and exploring in the woods finding “treasures”. He loved taking care of animals, always wanting to take in any animals he came across. He was industrious, taking what others might consider junk, and making it into birdhouses, bird feeders, sling shots and other creations. He loved crafts and made his own bracelets and necklaces. He loved traveling, especially going to the beach and new experiences. He recently took up fishing and loved going fishing with his brothers and other family members. He loved to eat and loved cooking and creating new dishes with his mom that he would then take credit for. He had a heart for the homeless and less fortunate and always wanted to give and help those in need. One of his stated goals was to build tiny homes for homeless persons when he earned enough money. He eagerly & faithfully volunteered and gave monetarily to support the community outreach programs at Mt. Moriah. He helped to provide, prepare and serve lunch once each month at the Bread of Life/Salvation Army in Sanford with his parents. Shakeem was a genuinely good person who loved God and strived to live out God’s commandments and to witness to others. He loved his immediate and extended family and was so happy to have so many aunts, uncles, and cousins who were such a blessing to him. He loved serving others and was always willing to help. Shakeem is already being missed by all of us who love him. 


Shakeem was born on August 11, 2001 and until age nine (9), was reared by his biological grandparents, Mr. Francis and Mrs. Mary Bunyon. His grandparents' influence was evident in Shakeem’s life and personality as he took on many of their loving ways and likes. He attended St. James AME Church in Sanford with his grandparents. He attended Floyd Knight and B. T. Bullock Elementary Schools in Sanford through third grade. In 2011 when his grandparents’ health began to decline, Terry & Linda Bristow became Shakeem’s foster and then adoptive parents. Shakeem became a vibrant part of the Bristow & Taylor Families, the Mt. Moriah A.M.E Zion Church Family and the Raleigh District of the A.M.E. Zion Church Family. He attended Grace Christian School in Sanford from 4th through 8th Grades where he began to thrive educationally and socially. Because of Shakeem’s strong work ethic, persistence, willingness to use the tools he learned and with help that God sent through his mother, and two special teachers–Mrs. Lynn Kruger and Mrs. Barbara Keller, Shakeem began to rebound and recover from many of his early educational deficits. He attended Lee County Senior High School from grades 9-12. Shakeem was a proud 2020 graduate of Lee County High School where he played on the varsity football and wrestling teams and was a faithful member of the Junior ROTC (JROTC) program for 4 years where he earned the rank of Cadet First Lieutenant. He participated on the Rifle team and in parades with JROTC. Through JROTC, Shakeem also learned discipline, leadership skills and to be a responsible, independent thinker. This helped him to stand for and do what was right, avoiding many of the temptations and peer pressures many experience in High School and life. Shakeem was a student at Central Carolina Community College in the Sustainable Agriculture program. Since June 2020, Shakeem has been employed with the contracted maintenance provider at Pfizer in Sanford (currently Harvard). He loved his job and the people he worked with. His workday began at 5:00 pm. He would leave home faithfully at 4:30 pm to make the 20 minute drive to work to make sure he got to work on time. He never called out. He rarely took days off and often received accolades and monetary bonuses for doing exceptional work and exceeding standards. 

Shakeem loved attending and being a member of Mt. Moriah AME Zion Church, as well as attending services and

conferences on the District, Conference and Connectional levels. He was grateful to have the members of Mt. Moriah and the Raleigh District as part of his supportive village who he grew to love and respect and who became his teachers, mentors, and friends. At Mt. Moriah, he was a Junior and later Senior Usher & Acolyte. He attended Sunday School each week and served as Mt. Moriah’s delegate or alternate delegate to the Raleigh District Church School Convention several years. He loved singing with the Youth and Children’s Choir on 4th Sundays and assisting in worship, often being called on to read the scripture or to pray. He faithfully served as a Junior Trustee until age 18 and then became the youngest member ever of the Trustee Board at Mt. Moriah. Shakeem took his duties as trustee seriously and served faithfully throughout his tenure. He participated with the youth department of Mt. Moriah and served on the kitchen committee.

Shakeem represented the Raleigh District several years as a member of the Bible Bowl Team and placed every year in the Raleigh District Black History Bowl. He also served as Chaplain of the Raleigh District Varick International Christian Youth Council. 

Shakeem is preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Francis and Mary Bunyon, L. B. and Mary Taylor; and his uncle, Winford (Jr.) Clegg. 

He is survived by his paternal grandmother, Mary Bristow of Sanford, NC, his maternal grandmother, Stella Murchison of Sanford, NC, his biological mother, Tasha Bunyon of Sanford, NC, his parents Terry and Linda Bristow of Sanford, NC. his sister, Tiera D. Thomas (Sherrard) of Ft. Moore, Georgia, his brothers Jay’lnn and Zachariah Bunyon Bristow, of the home, his aunts and uncles –Mary Henderson, Annie Lee, Rutha Jones, Earlean Harris, Charlene Gage, L. B. Taylor, Jr (Naomi), Dian Taylor, Barbara Jennings (Larry), Alma Sherman (Michael), JoAnn Gulley, Gregory Taylor (Gregory Chandler), Julie Bunyon, Seltina Bristow and Anthony Bristow (Maria), Tony Murchison & Al Smith, his nephews, Kai and Kairo Thomas and niece Kaila Thomas, and many, many, many, cousins and friends who all helped shape Shakeem into the awesome person he was.  

Shakeem is still making a difference even in death through organ and tissue donations that will help save or improve the lives of many. To honor Shakeem’s life example of giving and helping others, the family has requested that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Outreach Program at Mt. Moriah AME Zion Church through cashapp ($mtmoriah03) or by sending donations to 5448 Highway 158 Business, Henderson, NC 27537. Please designate “Outreach Program” in the for or memo section. Let us all endeavor to keep Shakeem’s memory alive by following his life example of loving God as evidenced by helping & serving others.


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Flower Delivery
January 15, 2024

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Knotts Funeral Home
719 Wall St.
Sanford, NC 27330

Public Walk Thru Viewing in the Funeral Home Chapel ( Everyone MUST wear a Mask)
January 15, 2024

1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Knotts Funeral Home
719 Wall St.
Sanford, NC 27330

Funeral Service
January 16, 2024

12:00 PM
Fair Promise AME Zion Church
712 Wall Street
Sanford, NC 27330

Video is available for this event

January 16, 2024

Lee Memory Gardens
2600 Hawkins Ave.
Sanford, NC 27330


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