Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Roberta "Bunny" Landis | 1945-2011

Bunny Landis, a woman of 'happiness, beauty and style,' dies of cancer at 66

BAYSHORE BEAUTIFUL — Bunny Landis met her future husband after someone spit on him.

It was 1989. Tampa attorney Jim Landis was sitting at the bar at Bella's watching a baseball game when another lawyer, apparently inebriated, confronted and befouled him. Landis ignored the man, who then slinked away.

Bunny Landis, who at that time was named Bunny Casper and was recently divorced from Joe Casper, whose company owns many McDonald's restaurants around Tampa, was seated nearby. She saw what happened and rushed over to check on Landis.

Landis watched the end of his baseball game — in which Nolan Ryan struck out his 5,000th batter — and then walked out. Bunny Casper was there saying goodbye to friends.

"A year and a half later we were married," Jim Landis said. "She was a beautiful woman who got more beautiful as she got older."

In their 20 years of marriage, Mrs. Landis would almost never introduce her husband as merely Jim. "This is Jim, the best husband in the world," she'd say.

She passed away Aug. 11 from pancreatic cancer. She was 66.

She was born in New Haven, Conn., but came to Tampa with her family when she was 3 or 4 years old. Her name was really Roberta, but from the time she was a baby everyone called her Bunny.

"Her mother gave her that name," Jim Landis said. "She said she was as soft as a bunny."

Her young years weren't easy. Her father died when she was 9, and her mother raised her family mostly on Social Security.

She never had a career, but always had an active life. She raised two children from her first marriage, then devoted herself to charity work and civic organizations.

She led an active social life, and started every morning for years at Ashley Espresso, where she and other regulars would discuss anything from art and politics to reality television.

"Bunny brought happiness, beauty and style to those morning gatherings," said Donna Bevis, the owner of Ashley Espresso who was also a longtime friend.

Mrs. Landis was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, after the disease had spread throughout her liver. She started chemotherapy to prolong her life.

One of the first things she did after learning of the cancer, her husband said, was comb through her jewelry box. She pulled out maybe 25 of her favorite pieces.

When she broke the news of the cancer to her friends, she'd hand each of them a piece of jewelry and say, "When I beat this you can return it."

Many of those friends wore the jewelry to her funeral.

Mrs. Landis was never reticent about talking about her cancer, and in fact became something of a cancer activist after her diagnosis. She gathered a group of friends called Bunny's Carats, who raised more than $50,000 for the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in the two Miles for Moffitt fundraisers between her diagnosis and her death.

In July, through her work with Stand Up for Cancer, she was invited to take part in some of the events surrounding the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. She and her husband traveled to Arizona, and the day after the game, as part of fantasy camp, she got to hit a baseball in the same stadium, standing in the same batter's box where some of the game's greats had stood the previous evening.

The next day she suffered a stroke. Doctors said there was nothing more they could do.

Marty Clear writes life stories about Tampa residents who have recently passed away. He can be reached at mclear@tampabay.rr.com.

Bunny Landis, a woman of 'happiness, beauty and style,' dies of cancer at 66 08/18/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.