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Kathleen 'Kate" Louise Benedict

December 15, 1946 October 8, 2020
Kathleen 'Kate" Louise Benedict
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Obituary for Kathleen 'Kate" Louise Benedict

Kathleen (Kate) Louise Higgins was born to John Higgins and Ruth Bryan Higgins on 12/15/1946 in Altadena, CA, the youngest of four daughters. After a sudden onset of cancer, Kate passed away on 10/8/2020 at Hospice House in Spokane surrounded by friends and family.

Kate grew up in Pasadena, California enjoying horseback riding and cheerleading at John Muir High School. She then moved to the island of Kauai, Hawaii where she met and married Bob Chun with whom she had her son, Terrence. During her years in Hawaii, she graduated from nursing school from the University of Hawaii and developed her lifelong passion for hula at Halau O Maiki under Kumu Hula Maiki Aiu Lake. Over the years she lived in California, Rhode Island, and Idaho, skiing, traveling to national parks, enjoying trout fishing, caring for her horses, and loving her dogs.

Eventually, Kate settled in Spokane on the South Hill. She worked as a Registered Nurse at VNA Home Health Care in the mid-'80s and became known throughout the Spokane health care community as a strong patient advocate. In 1995, she joined the Care Management team at Group Health Northwest, coordinating care for patients transitioning from hospitals and shining in every role while making lasting friendships. In 1998, Kate earned a BA in Organizational Management from Whitworth University. A classmate described her, “We all have fond memories of Kate. Her sparkling eyes and quick smile were charming and spoke of an optimism about life."

In 2013, Kate married the love of her life, Bruce Hunt, after a chance meeting kayaking on Priest Lake. In their short years together they kayaked, hiked, biked, walked their dogs, and loved just being together. After Bruce's death in 2015, Kate found enjoyment and solace in volunteering with Hospice of Spokane and teaching Matter of Balance classes through Aging and Long-Term Care of Eastern Washington. Volunteering with her friend Mary Lee to support firefighters climbing to raise millions of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society LLS Stairclimb at the Columbia Center in Seattle touched her deeply and personally.

Kate will be remembered as a spark in people’s lives. She was a wonderful friend, a great listener, easy to laugh, thoughtful, and brought extra love and warmth to her friendships. She offered sage advice and was intrigued by ideas and different perspectives. She was an avid reader and especially enjoyed the fall season. She was down-to-earth, compassionate, intelligent, and funny.

Kate was particularly close to her nephew Jake Kaauwai, spending vacation time with him in Hawaii and welcoming annual visits wherever she lived. “The brightest light of my life went out when Kate died. I cherish having the honor to have known her, what a gift.”

Kate was especially happy to be a proud grandmother to her 3 beautiful girls, Malia, Kaila, and Alana. She loved her visits to California to make up games with them, dress up, tell stories, hug, and watch them grow.

She is predeceased by her husband, Bruce Hunt, her parents, and her sisters Anne, Jean, and Nancy. She is survived by her beloved son Terrence Chun (Laura), grandchildren (Malia, Kaila, Alana), nieces and nephews Jake Kaauwai, Bill Kaauwai, Kelly Kaauwai, Sandy Kaauwai Roe, and Nalani Kaauwai Brun (also Kate’s goddaughter), and her brother-in-law David Hunt (Shing).

Kate’s family would like to thank Hospice of Spokane and Hospice House for their care, offer gratitude to all the people who filled her life with happiness over the years, and express love to the close friends who helped ease her way near the end, Patty Bourke, Christine Brooks, Jo Ellen Thorne, Mary Lee Linton, and Dani Burford.

A small graveside service was held at Greenwood Memorial Terrace where she is interred next to her beloved Bruce. She also asked that some ashes be spread on Kauai and at Priest Lake.

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