Constance Ashford Hunter, a beloved mother, sister, wife, grandmother and great grandmother during her 82 illustrious years on this earth, passed away peacefully in Merced on Feb. 12, 2018. Connie, born on Oct. 20, 1935 in St. Louis, Missouri, was known for her intelligence, sense of humor, beauty and compassion by family, friends and colleagues in both her personal and professional life before following her lifelong faith to be with God in Heaven.
After graduating Cum Laude, and second in her class from Barat College of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois, in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Connie broke glass ceilings during her career as a head medical writer at Baxter Laboratories in Morton Grove, Illinois. Later in her professional life, she was an executive secretary for advertising and co-operative advertising coordinator for the Merced Sun-Star.
Connie also turned one of the great passions of her personal life, dogs, into spectacular international success as a professional dog handler, breeder, trainer and judge. She founded Ashbun Acres, breeding, showing and training her beloved Great Danes, as well as being a founding member of the Yosemite Kennel Club. She was a renowned judge for the American Kennel Club, judging major events in the United States, Canada and Scotland.
Nothing, however, mattered more to Connie than her precious family. She is survived by her brother, Theodore H. Ashford of Wilmington, Delaware. She was widowed by John W. Bungart – the father of her seven children – in 1977, and then again by Thomas C. Hunter in 1998.
She was the beloved mother of Cheryl Dumas of Michigan, Barbara Lasley of Winton, Kristin A. Bungart of Santa Monica, Dr. Kimberly Davis of Raleigh, North Carolina, Jack F.K. Bungart of Napa and John S. Bungart of Merced. She was preceded in death by her precious daughter, Michelle Bungart, in 2012.
Connie was the proud grandmother of 18 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. Her grandchildren are: Catherine Bettis, Daphne Bettis, David Lasley, Edward Lasley III, Tricia Bungart, Elizabeth Bungart, Anna Bielski, Thomas Bielski, Justin Dumas, Aimee Dumas, Ronnie Finn, Jared Finn, Andrew Finn, Debbie Hoffman, Jackson Bungart, Kyle Bungart, Jennifer Davis, and Tyler Davis.
Rosary is Saturday, March 10 at 8:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Mercy, 459 W. 21st St. in Merced, followed by a mass at the same location. A celebration of Connie’s life will follow at 10:30 a.m. at the Christian Life Center, 650 East Olive, Merced.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to Hinds Hospice of Merced. Connie’s family would like to thank Tera and Freddie and their loving staff at Just Like Home Care in Merced for filling Connie’s final two years of life with love and care.
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