In her own words, Rae Ann Hunter “lived life to the fullest”. She passed from this earth on the 13th of July, this year. She even accomplished her last goal — she qualified for Medicare by a couple of weeks.
Except for the unlucky cancer genes, she was darn close to a perfect person. She made people glad that they knew her. She would do anything for anyone anytime. She was happy in life, even when she had to grit her teeth to smile.
One of Rae Ann’s gifts was storytelling. She would start out slow, but soon she’d be on her feet acting out every part – stories about skiing crashes, “bears” outside her tent, runaway horses, dodging tornados in her beloved camper trailer “Spur of the Moment,” killer bees while gardening, and being “attacked by vultures” on a bicycling trip. (She had a punch card at the Valley View Hospital emergency room.) Her audience would be laughing to tears. She bore a strong resemblance to Lucille Ball.
Perhaps Rae Ann’s crowning achievement was her Mother’s Day Tea Party fundraisers for the Carbondale Community United Methodist Church. With many helpers, she put together legendary sold-out events with lovely tea fare and fashion shows.
Not content to rest on her laurels, she started a new garden behind the church to provide fresh vegetables for LIFT-UP and the community. Rae Ann loved her church and she loved Carbondale.
Rae Ann was born in Michigan and grew up mainly in Denver. She had a horse and she rode with her best friend and neighbor all over Wheatridge when it was still country. She was a member of the Westernaires youth riding club and rode in exhibitions. The family moved to Maryland when her dad transferred to Baltimore. She kept her riding going, finished high school and went on to the University of Maryland to get her degree in microbiology. Her science took her to Vanderbilt University in Nashville where she did research in DNA.
Rae Ann met Patrick Hunter who persuaded her to move to the valley. She worked at several jobs until she became an insurance biller at Aspen Valley Hospital. They moved from Snowmass downvalley to Carbondale where she became their first employee to work from home. They didn’t want to lose her, and she would not commute.
She went on to get her real estate license with Remax and earned the title of the “Mobile Home Queen of the Mid-Valley”. She made many lifelong friends from her grateful customers and her colleagues.
Rae Ann is survived by her husband of 26 years, Patrick Hunter of Carbondale; stepdaughter Christy Garfield, her husband Nathan, and their daughter Clementine – who loved her Grannie Rae Annie very much. She is also survived by her brother Michael Wingeart and his wife Martha, their children – John Wingeart, Jason Wingeart and his wife Tiffany, and Jessica Franz and her husband Scot; and 8 grandchildren. Also, her stepmother Carolyn Wingeart; sister Leah Wingeart; sister Lauren Becker, her husband Chris; brother Joshua Wingeart, his wife Jen; and 3 grandchildren. Rae Ann has been put to rest in Maryland (along with the ashes of her “children” – dogs Wilson and Bella, and cat Spooky), next to her brother John, and her parents Jerold and Marian Rae “Izzy” Wingeart.
Rae Ann leased a wonderful little horse named Monkey at the Strang Ranch the last few summers. In honor of her complete love of animals, especially horses, a fund has been set up for local youngsters who would like to take riding lessons at the Strang Ranch but cannot afford to do so. Donations to the fund called “Monkey Money” can be made at the Alpine Bank in Carbondale.
Her family hopes her friends will think of Rae Ann and channel her total joie de vivre whenever they ski her favorite run, Powerline, on a powder day!