Caroline Joan Hunter

May  6th, 1967 March  29th, 2024
Long Beach, California
Caroline Joan Hunter

Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day.

Obituary

Caroline Joan Hunter was born in San Diego, California on May 6, 1967. Born to proud parents Lawrence Hunter and Sandra Hunter and welcomed by big Sister Cathy. Caroline became a big Sister herself in December of 1968 when Kenneth L Hunter, (Kenny) was adopted into her family. Caroline was a beloved Daughter to both of her parents, her Bonus Mom Marcia, and Stepdad Raymond, Sister to Cathy, Sister-in-law to Greg, Auntie to her nephew Zachary, Niece to her Aunt Shirley, Cousin to Lori and Teri, and Friend to many.

Caroline grew up in Harbison Canyon and Clairemont in San Diego County. As a young girl Caroline spent as much time as possible outdoors climbing trees, making mud pies decorated with flowers and hiking all through the hills behind her family’s canyon home. In later years she enjoyed riding bicycles, playing badminton, camping, and spending time at the beach. Caroline Graduated from James Madison High School in 1985 and then attended California State University Long Beach. Caroline opted not to complete her college degree and instead focused on her career with the Target Corporation.

Caroline had two successful careers throughout her lifetime. The first, was with the Target Corporation both in San Diego and in Long Beach, which lasted 22-years. Working her way up from a Front Lane Cashier to an Assistant Manager. After Target, Caroline entered a vocational retraining program, to find a new career that did not aggravate the repetitive use injuries she suffered in both of her hands and elbows. Caroline chose to become an eyeglass technician and graduated from that program in 2004. Caroline worked for National Vision as a team member, eventually managing her individual store and mentoring other stores that were underperforming.

While both of Caroline‘s careers were successful, they did not compare to the joy and fulfillment she felt mentoring her coworkers and team members. Her goal was always to boost others up and to provide encouragement. Whether they were having a down day, trouble learning a new task or interested in advancing their careers. We will never know what Caroline‘s third career might have been after completing her AA degree at Long Beach City College in the Fall of 2025, but we can be confident that she would have continued lifting others up.

From Caroline, in her own words as part of her recent course work at Long Beach City College; “I received many accommodations and awards over the years, but what I hold most dear to my heart was the way I was able to inspire my team and train them to advance in the company. Giving performance reviews was also a favorite skill of mine. I believe in empowering people, helping them feel good about themselves, training and mentoring so they can do everything I can do, and they can reach their full potential.”

Caroline had several activities that brought her joy and happiness: art, gardening, and cooking. Caroline’s parents were both very artistic and their influence was visible throughout many things in her life. Caroline loved art in all shapes and forms from the traditional to the unique. Drawing and sketching, but also creating art out of found or repurposed objects, painting rocks, and planting succulent arrangements were some of her favorites. Caroline was constantly collecting random bits and bobbles wherever she found them because they were unique, sparkly, or as she frequently called them “God Shots.” Many of those objects were picked up for the sake of collecting, but some in the hopes of becoming a future artistic creation. Caroline also liked to follow social media posts focused on art and creating, or specific artists whose work she appreciated.

Gardening, playing in the dirt and watching plants grow more beautiful over time was a happy place for Caroline. Being able to share succulent cuttings (the gift that keeps on giving) and plants with friends and neighbors brought her fulfillment. Visiting gardens when time allowed was a treasured activity. Caroline would talk about the visit afterwards; “Oh you would not believe all the plants” which she would say while grinning from ear to ear and clapping her hands together briskly in front of her. Her joy was infectious!

Cooking was a passion Caroline inherited from her Grandma Ruth. Caroline was a great cook whether she was baking a pie, roasting a turkey, making soup, hot-dish, or simply grilling. Cooking recipes passed down through her family was a favorite, as well as family recipes she learned from friends. She also loved trying new recipes she found on-line, or in cookbooks and magazines. Some of those recipes were saved on recipe cards, but more frequently written into notebooks along with her schoolwork or on random bits of paper tucked into a box or drawer for safe keeping.

Through the different seasons of Caroline’s life emotional health and self-worth were challenges. Caroline was amazing in so many ways, but she did not always feel that way inside. Growing up we were not taught how to deal with these types of inherited family traits, nor did we know how destructive they could be. During the 70s and 80s the importance of emotional health was not talked about openly the way it is today. If only we could go back in time…

Caroline‘s life in Long Beach was very full between her classes at Long Beach City College, helping her housemates and friends, and attending different group meetings. Over the years she met so many wonderful people and built a community around her where she truly felt welcome and supported. The Ladies’ Groups she became a part of in the last few years at ICFH, and a group trip to Idyllwild, California in September 2023 was a particular highlight for her. The women she met accepted her openly, and Caroline could not wait for the next group trip. In fact, she wanted to be part of the planning and was so looking forward to it. The team at the COS Lab at Long Beach City College LAC helped her learn new computer skills. Computer skills she needed for her classes and that she eventually shared with others working in that same lab. The confidant and friend who guided her, many personal friends, the Professors and classmates at Long Beach City College all played large roles in her life in recent years. To all of you in Caroline’s life please know that you meant the world to her.

Caroline, recently listening to you speak about your life, friends, classes, and future goals, it was clear you were making lasting progress in all areas of your life. Your goal of having your AA Degree by the Fall of 2025 was within reach. Going back to school in your mid-fifties takes guts and willpower. You had both in abundance, and your grades showed it, they were stellar🤩 Caroline, YOU should be proud of yourself and where you were going with the rest of your life. Not being able to watch that story finish is heartbreaking beyond words.

Caroline passed away early on Good Friday morning, March 29, 2024, at St Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center in Long Beach, California. Caroline was admitted on Tuesday morning, March 26, 2024, due to extreme difficulty breathing. Complications caused by a severe lung infection led to bleeding in her lungs that the doctors could not stop. Caroline had been sedated while she was in the ICU, so she did not suffer. As an organ donor Caroline’s final act in this life was to give of herself to others. Caroline was preceded in death by both of her parents, her Aunt Shirley, Maternal Grandparents Harold and Ruth, and Paternal Grandparents Kenneth and Winifred.

Caroline will be missed always by those who knew her, but she will remain with us forever in our hearts and in our memories💜

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May 30, 2024
Hello all,

Here is the link to the YouTube video from LBCC's Admin Assistant promotional video where Caroline is featured:

https://youtu.be/zR4l3vzx4sc?si=FwnzCPsZNtR3N80Z&t=69

She always shined in the computer lab, always helping and caring for others, we will miss her greatly, and her spot will always be there.
Ana Rivera
May 25, 2024
Cathy and Family, so sorry for your loss! I remember her well. She was always smiling and welcomed us all! Cherish the many memories! Sending our love and hugs! Karen
Karen Bulthuis
May 25, 2024
Caroline will be missed! I will always have great memories of the three of us from the house on Arnott St. She loved her garden and everything she grew in it!
Steve Bulthuis
May 25, 2024
My dear sweet cousin,
You are forever in my heart. Tears flow as I write this and I feel your hug telling me it is alright to cry. Your heart was open to all. We had it all as children. The days were ours to play, create, giggle and enjoy each moment. Just be in those moments. I am forever grateful for those memories and thankful we all had each other. We are bound by our family and I am comforted knowing grandma and our moms are surrounding you with love.
Be at peace. I love you 💜🦋
Lori Erlhoff
May 22, 2024
Sister Love,
I have loved you since the day you were born, and I will miss you every single day. Your Birthday this year was especially difficult knowing that from now on they will all be celebrated in heaven. We will not be looking at on-line menus trying to find just the right place for a special breakfast. Any place where they serve pancakes with a big dollop of whipped butter and fancy syrup was high on your list. You not being here still does not seem real. So many times, while looking through old pictures my first thought/action was to send them to you so we could crack up together over what goofballs we were growing up. Tomorrow is not promised, and I grieve the missed time between us and for all the future time we were supposed to spend together. Heaven gained an angel with the biggest wings when you left us. I know you are freely sharing your inner bright light with all those in heaven while wearing your cute, scrunchy nosed grin and talking about all the gardening and art projects you cannot wait to start. Love you always and forever Beautiful 🤗
Cathy Banner
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