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Eileen Hunt

1954 -2022

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Eileen Hunt

Eileen Hunt

With profound sadness, tempered only by a sense of relief, we say that Eileen Hunt has passed on from this life; her suffering has ended, and she is at peace. At four in the afternoon on June 29, in her own bed and in view of her spectacular garden, Eileen finally succumbed to the cancer she had battled for 18 years and most fiercely the last nine months. At her side were her two sisters, a friend, the hospice nurse and her husband. She was so brave! Her nurse remarked that Eileen was the gutsiest patient she has ever had. Eileen began her life in Oak Park, IL. She was the first born of twins, which meant that her sister, Claudia, was her closest companion for many years. She had two older brothers, Ross and Marty, and an older sister Kathleen. Near the end of the Fifties decade, the family of seven moved to Menlo Park, CA.

Growing up, Eileen avidly learned to kayak rivers in Northern CA from her father. She also had many fond memories of summers at the family's cabin at Ben Lomond, CA, near the San Lorenzo River in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Inspired by Joni Mitchell especially, Eileen began to sing. Ultimately Eileen went to San Jose State University where she was a music major studying voice.

Her music career was long and varied. She sang principal roles in numerous operas with regional opera companies followed by a European tour of study, auditions and performance. After three years with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, Eileen delved into music from medieval chant to the baroque period. As an oratorio soloist, Eileen has sung works by Bach, Faure, Handel, Mozart, Purcell, Orff, with Carmina Burana being one of her signature roles. Not only did she sing many genres of music, but Eileen also sang in numerous languages, including Czech and Chinese. In Napa Valley, she has been featured with St. Helena Chamber Singers and in various offerings at the White Barn, NV College and Jarvis Conservatory. More recently, Eileen was a member of Bel Canto Napa Valley, whose musical director announced her death to the members: “Our loveliest of sopranos is at peace. There will never be another like our precious Eileen.”

She was a superb event planner, a role which Eileen performed at UCSF Dept. of OBGYN and at the Napa office of Hudson Insurance Group. Her ingenuity and sophisticated knowledge of food, drink and venues helped to create successful gatherings for clients and staff time and time again. She retired from Hudson in 2021, after 20 years there. In her spare time, she was a gardener's gardener, who had a knack for floral arrangements and holiday decorating.

Eileen is survived by Michael Haas, her husband of 35 years, sisters Kathleen Siegel and Claudia Putnam (husband Jay Putnam), brother Ross Hunt, nieces Lea Lucas and Lori Siegel, and nephews Graham Pedersen and Michael Pedersen. She also delighted in having grandnieces and grandnephews – seven in all. Eileen and Michael were very appreciative of the help and support she received from Collabria Care Hospice, family, friends, neighbors and personal caregivers. Special thanks go to Drs. Ari Umutyan and Tabitha Doniach for their compassionate care. For anyone wishing to donate in memory of Eileen, she designated the following charities: Call of the Sea - Sausalito, CA and Young Musicians Choral Orchestra - Oakland, CA (both have websites).

On September 2, at one o'clock, we will gather together at St. Helena Catholic Church for a farewell service, followed by a reception. This will be our opportunity to remember Eileen and say farewell to a remarkable person.

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