- Heather Hunter Hunt -
Other Hunt Family Histories:
Life Sketch of Heather Eileen Hunter Hunt
Jan. 28, 1955 ~ Dec. 28, 1990
Wife of David Ray Hunt (Son of William Donald Hunt and Billie Evelyn Gooing).
Life Sketch read at Heather’s funeral by Shirley Peck, written by Debbie Ramsey – Heather’s oldest and youngest sisters.
Heather Eileen Hunter Hunt was born on Jan. 28, 1955, the seventh of eight children of Byron A. and Margaret O. Hunter. Shirley, Jim, Bob, Marg, Wendy, Sharman, Heather, and Debbie were the crew. Heather came with a distinctive round, bald head and a smile that lighted her face and formed her eyes into what her family called “moon eyes.” She spent her growing up years in Woodbridge , Connecticut . The spacious, white, colonial home with multiple closets and a laundry chute was perfect for playing hide and seek. The three little kids – Sharman, Heather, and Debbie – also had fun playing outside, playing Tarzan and Jane and Cheetah on the grapevines in the woods, building Flintstone villages out of rocks, creating witches brew, and wading in the back pond, stalking a pollywog or a frog.
In the winter time, sledding down the steep hill in front of the house was a thrill. In high school Heather sang in the concert choir and started a Slavic chorus. She was also selected to be in the All State Choir. She acted in several plays and was a hit, even in minor roles. She was Secretary of her Junior and Senior classes and was elected Miss Trident, basically a popularity contest, in her Senior year. She drew the cover for many musical programs and was often found doodling. After graduating from Amity Regional Senior High in 1973, she went on a whirlwind tour of Europe and the British Isles with her parents and two sisters, Sharm and Deb. They heard boys whistling in Paris , Madrid , Copenhagen , and Florence – never imagining that they, themselves, with their mini skirts and turtle necks were the cause of the uproar.
Heath loved the museums, cathedrals, and beautiful gardens, but she really missed the good old USA, ice cubes, and cold milk. Heather started BYU in the Fall, living in Heritage Halls with Pam Greer, her best friend all these years. She had a major role in the BYU theatre production, The Miser, and enjoyed theatre classes. She also studied German and went on a semester abroad to Salzburg , Austria , making friends wherever she went, as she continued to do the rest of her life. After that adventure, she began a new one at BYU when she met David Ray Hunt. He was Elder’s Quorum President and a great catch for any girl. They became engaged in the Spring. The last night before they were separated for the summer, Heather sang beautifully “Someday soon, going with him, someday soon,” while Dave accompanied her on the guitar. They couldn’t stand to be parted that summer and Heather drove back and forth across the country to be with Dave at every opportunity. She even flew to England to see him as he played fiddle for the BYU Folk Dancers. They were married on October 28, 1976 just before Halloween. Dave put vampire teeth on and held her for some unusual wedding pictures.
Heather continued her studies and was able to graduate from BYU in Children’s Drama in 1979. They had three children: Emmy, Jeffer, and Shane. She loved them dearly and enjoyed soccer games, piano and violin recitals, and just being with them. She was proud of them and her talented husband. On December 17, 1984, she was diagnosed as having breast cancer and the family was told she would live one year at the most. In the six years since that day she has lived in England and Canada . She has visited Hawaii , Paris , and Disneyland , and enjoyed nice restaurants, and concerts. In six years she did more that many do in a lifetime.
Shirley and Margaret and Wendy remember being her second mother, each in our turn, as she was growing up. Bob remembers Heather as liking his silly puns. She tried to make some up herself, but they were never up to snuff. He kept her in hysterics. A few weeks before her death, Heather was preparing herself to go. She told us of bright lights and beautiful children. She especially told us of her love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and how she wanted to be there with them. She said, “Jesus is so wonderful. Wait ‘til you meet him! All I feel is Heavenly Father’s influence.” And later she said, “I want to die. I can’t wait. I want to be there now. I’m so excited!” And we know she is there. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Words by Heather’s Friend, Pam Greer
I’m thinking right now how happy Heather must be to have everybody that she loves so well here together. I guess I’m grateful to Dave for asking me to speak here today, even though it’s probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. There’s so much to say about Heather, and so little time. If we had hours and hours, then it might have been easier. But I’ve thought that the things that I’ve felt would be most important for me to say publicly would be to talk about the things that I’ve learned from my dear friend, Heather.
I can well remember the first time that I saw Heather. She literally burst through the kitchen door of our dorm at BYU, like a cyclone almost, and the first time we looked at each other I think we both knew that we would be friends for life. There was just something there, and Heather was full all her life of life and energy and excitement and laughter. Laughter is something I learned from Heather because she has always been able to laugh. The first time I was with her after she was told of her illness and how serious it was, and we had cried and held each other, then she laughed and said, “But it does have its positive sides. I’ll never have to exercise again; I’ll never have to go to the dentist again.” She thought that was funny. That laughter, that ability to laugh, I think served her well – clear up until the end. Of course, when she said that, when we laughed about that during that time, she did not realize (and none of us realized) just how long and difficult of a journey she had begun. And as Shirley said, at the outset, it seemed that it might not be as long and difficult as it turned out to be.
She told me once, sometime into this journey that she embarked upon, that she had reached a point where she realized that she did not have control over what was happening to her physical body – that there was nothing she could do about it – that she had only one choice, and that choice was how to go through it – to go through it poorly or to go through it well. So she made up her mind that she was going to bear it well. I think everybody in this room could testify through personal experience, or a witness if you will, that Heather bore it well.
I’ve thought about when she told me that and I think that to hear it seems like kind of a simple choice – that if you only have two things to choose between, you might think it easy to choose the honorable thing, so to speak. Then, once you’ve made that decision, that choice, it makes everything else easier. I don’t think that’s how it was, though. I do think it made it easier in some regards, but I also believe that Heather had to make that choice every week and every day, and sometimes she suffered minute to minute with physical and spiritual agonies that none of us understand, I don’t think – Dave, maybe more than anybody. She had to make that decision, and she always returned to that decision—to bear it well. I think she made that choice countless times.
She would not let her illness get her down. As Shirley mentioned, twice as Dave and Heather were faced with the prospect of moving to foreign lands, both times she took the challenge willingly and with excitement and she left her family, and her home and her friends, and her trusted doctors, and went far away. I think there was a purpose for that. I think that her influence has literally been felt throughout many countries of the world. She has been an example of courage, and strength, and faith to countless numbers of people – probably that none of us realize. I’m sure she didn’t realize the effect that she had on so many people throughout the world. But I think that her strength, in addition to this determined attitude of hers to bear it well, came from a greater source. As Shirley mentioned, and as Heather spoke of so often, not only toward the end of her life but throughout her life, she had a deep, deep faith and a love for the Savior. She told me once that in the darkest moments of her pain and suffering, she would focus every energy that she had within her on the Savior and on covenants and promises that she had made and had been given in the temple. She said that never once did it fail to see her through whatever it was that she was dealing with. She had great faith.
The last thing I wanted to mention that I have learned from Heather is unconditional love. Heather loved everybody in this room, and she loved us all in spite of the human frailties that we all have. She loved us unconditionally and when Heather loved somebody, there was a loyalty that went with that. She absolutely loved and honored her parents, all through her life, and her sisters and brothers, and her friends. I can think of many, many, times when I’ve seen Heather – when people came to visit her through her illness – she was the one to reach out with an expression of love, a comforting word, something to console each of us, most of all, she loved Dave and she loved Emmy, and Jeffer and Shane. She talked to me many times, as I’m sure she talked to many of you, of her love for them, and her deepest felt concerns beyond her own person struggles were for them. I feel to say to Emmy and Jeffer and Shane that I believe that the veil that separates us at this point from your mother is very thin. And I believe that a mother’s love can penetrate that veil and I just want to let you know that I think that in the times that you need her, your mother will be there with you. She will guide you and protect you and walk by your side all the days of your life, even though you can’t see her.
This is what I feel has been Heather’s legacy for me and for all of us here, among the many other things that I could have mentioned: laughter, the ability to laugh – even through the darkest times of our lives; determination to bear well, any sorrow that we face – the sorrow that we feel now at her loss, and other sorrows that each of us will face throughout our lives; an unwavering faith in the Savior – I can’t emphasize that one enough, because Heather truly loved the Savior – and unconditional love for one another. I think that is what she would want for us, more than anything, is for us to love one another. I’m so grateful to have known her and to have shared a part of her life, and to have been drawn into the circle of her family and her other friends here who loved her so well. I picture in my mind that Heather stands now and can say, as the Apostle Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have run my course, and I have kept the faith.” I say these things humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Experience Shared by Debbie Ramsey
I was telling Pam, I had to write something funny. I couldn’t handle the serious stuff, but I thought I would share one little thing that I remembered. When Heather and I were kids, we used to try to do things that would make each other happy. We had really wonderful blackberries in our yard, kind of off from our yard, but the neatest thing was for one of us to go out and collect some blackberries, bring it in the house, and quietly and stealthfully, get a bowl of Corn Flakes and put the blackberries on top and put a nice little spoon there and glass of orange juice. Then I’d go up and say, “Heather, breakfast is before you!” She’d just light up and be so thrilled that I would prepare breakfast for her.