Obituary: Kenneth E. Hunter

Loving husband, singer, traveler, citizen of the world


Kenneth E. Hunter, a resident of Claremont for 51 years, died May 20 at Mt. San Antonio Gardens at 86 years of age after years of struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

He was born in Los Angeles on March 4, 1932 to Kenneth E. Hunter, Sr. and Jeanne McLane Hunter. The family settled in Glendale, California, where young Kenneth did well in school and at an early age exhibited a keen interest in the world around him. 

He graduated from Glendale High School in 1949 and after extensive travel, several majors in college, and service in the US Army in Alaska, he graduated from San Jose State University. After graduation Mr. Hunter served as city planner in the California cities of San Dimas, West Covina and Ontario before his retirement in 1994.

He loved singing in several operetta productions at Glendale High School and in the traveling US Army Chorus while in the service. He sang lead roles in Kiss Me Kate at San Jose State and in Camelot with the Long Beach Light Opera Company. He sang with the Claremont Chorale as it was forming many years ago and in the Men’s Chorus and Gardens Chorale at Mt. San Antonio Gardens.

Singing and traveling were always important features of his life. Trips were not so much “projects” as adventures. He didn’t feel it necessary to know details too far ahead, such as where he might sleep each night. He really enjoyed spending hours in museums, art galleries, at concerts and adventure movies—but they had to be historically accurate, his family shared.

He also had deep concerns; He strove for equality and justice in the lives of marginalized persons around the world. He was involved with several nonprofit groups, with whom he shared goal of “righting the wrongs” in the world. Chief among them were Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Campaign for Tibet. He was also a faithful contributor to several other world relief organizations.

Mr. Hunter and Ardys (Kiggens), his wife of 50 years, dated in high school and were married on August 19, 1967 in La Canada, California. He immediately found himself to be stepdad to three young children. Three years later, he and Ardys welcomed their daughter, Alyson, completing their family. In recent comments they agreed that, “He did an admirable job.” 

His friends at Mt. San Antonio Gardens, where he and Ardys had lived for 10 years, said he was “a big man with a big heart and a big smile.”

Mr. Hunter’s parents, his brother Robert Hunter, of Hollywood, and sister Barbara Burson, of La Crescenta, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his loving wife, Ardys; stepson John Havens, of Walnut Creek, California; stepdaughters Beth Havens Connor (Roger), of Claremont, and Linda Havens Rakosi (Curtis), of Savannah, Georgia; daughter Alyson, of Eureka, California; grandchildren Cameron Scott Connor, Sean Allen Connor, Ryan Havens Connor, Emily Michelle Rakosi and Jacob David Rakosi; nieces Leslie Burson and Laurie Gossett (Brian); and cousin Robin Reeves (Dale).

In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations in Mr. Hunter’s memory to Amnesty International at, or Habitat for Humanity at, or to a charity of your choice.


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