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Christie M Hunt

January 26, 1958 November 5, 2017
Christie M Hunt
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Obituary for Christie M Hunt

Christie M. Hunt, beloved wife, mother, nurse, and mermaid, died Sunday, November 5, 2017, at age 59. She was a truly good woman who battled cancer like no other. “I have had a fabulous, fabulous time,” said Christie, of Vancleave, MS, shortly before her death. “I have lived, I have loved, I have laughed. Oh my God. I have laughed so hard I have peed my pants. I have had some bad times, but gollee, I have laughed.”

Christie became a nurse in 1979, working at Singing River Hospital and Ocean Springs Hospital. It was her passion. “It was the most exciting, enlightening, educating thing,” she said. In 2006, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. While in chemotherapy, she could not return to her job in the medical intensive care unit because of the risk of infection, so she took a position in the nursing supervisor’s office. “I went in there bald as a goose, but I also had a lot of wigs. Long ones, short ones, red ones, black ones, I just played with them,” she said.

She recovered from the cancer, but sadly, it returned in 2014. She could no longer care for patients, so she cared for her nurses. “There were times on the floor they were overwhelmed and overworked and I’d put my arms around them and just love them, and that’s what got them through their shifts. I knew what it felt to feel so overwhelmed and overworked – and underappreciated as a floor nurse. It was important to me to make them feel special,” she said.

Christie beat cancer again, only to find out in 2016 that it had returned – this time to her spine. She could no longer continue on as a nurse, something that broke her heart. “Leaving work was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I miss all of those people terribly,” she said.

She said she fought cancer so long and so hard because of her children and grandchildren. She also hung on for her husband, Rockey, with whom she shared a wild adventure in life. In 1984, the couple went on their first date. She let him drive her Datson 280ZK. “How fast will this car go?” he asked. “As fast as you are man enough to take it,” she answered. He floored it. “He got close to 140 miles an hour and I sat there like I was filing my fingernails. Then he backed off the gas. I said, ‘That’s it?’”

They went to dinner at Red Lobster in Mobile, AL and since the server never gave them silverware, “We ate our entire dinner with the little teeny tiny hors d’oeuvre forks. We laughed the whole time, and we have been together ever since,” Christie said.

He was her world. “He is my best friend. He has held me when I couldn’t stand. He has wanted me when I didn’t feel wanted. He has loved me when I didn’t feel loveable. I wasn’t always nice. I’d throw things and scream and cry and he would love me. He would just hold onto me. He has taken care of me, and not only when I had cancer,” she said.

Despite her illness, she flourished in her newfound identity as a mermaid. Really. As a child, she was mesmerized by commercials during “The Wild Kingdom” show that showed water skiers from Cypress Gardens and the mermaids of Weeki Wachee. In 2014, she signed up for mermaid camp at the classic Florida roadside attraction, despite being in cancer treatment.

Christie’s oncologist scheduled her chemotherapy so she would be at Weeki Wachee’s crystal blue springs on her best week. Still, she struggled. Other wannabe mermaids in the camp were easily swimming down to kiss the underwater prince for photos, but Christie wasn’t strong enough to get more than a few feet below the surface. “I told Rockey, ‘I’m the most horrible mermaid ever.’ He said, ‘Just keep trying.’”

“I can help you get to that rock,” said Susie Pennoyer, who has performed as a mermaid since the early 1970s. “Susie tried pushing me down and I almost got to the rock, but then I was in a panic mode and needed air,” Christie recalled. “You don’t have to do this,” Pennoyer told her. “I do,” Christie said. “It’s not the things you don’t do, it’s the things you don’t try to do that make the difference.”

“You really want to get to that rock?” Susie asked. “More than anything,” Christie said. “She grabbed me by the tail and pulled me down to that rock. I was grinning ear to ear. I did not stay down there long, but they took the picture, I went back up and was crying.” From then on, she was accepted into the secret sisterhood of mermaids who literally kayak under a full moon to a spot in the Weeki Wachee River where they howl at the moon as they skinny dip. That river became Christie’s sacred place and she returned over and over. “The river – it is life. It is so refreshing and it is revealing. I could get in the river and just float and it was like it restored me. It restored my spirit,” Christie said.

As she confronted her cancer, she learned so much about herself. “Cancer has taught me a lot of things. It has taught me that even though you have faith and you trust God, physical things can still happen. It has taught me that just because you have cancer and take treatment, it doesn’t mean you are ugly. It has taught me that life is shorter than you think.”

She was preceded in death by her mother, Charlotte Atherton; father, James Brown; and great-granddaughter, Aubreigh Claire Theriot.

Christie is survived by her husband, Rockey Hunt; daughters, Gwendolyn (Chris) Page and Brandi (Dick) Forehand of Vancleave, MS; son, Jeremy (Jeanine) Hunt of Ocean Springs, MS; grandchildren, Tyler Turek, Kristianna Theriot, Catherine Colbert, Dakota Hunt, Kendal Hunt, Zackery Page, and Nolan (Ellie) Page; great-granchildren, Braidyn Turek, McKynleigh Smith, Eli Morton, Kannon Turek, Nole Page, and Chason Page; sisters, Joyce (Tom) Corbin, Dixie (Craig) Gibbons, and Rene Perry; along with numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. She is also survived by her fur-baby, Augusta Charlotte Hunt, aka Gussie.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. at Liberty Church in Gautier, MS. Funeral service will begin at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made in Christie’s name to Liberty Church Youth Ministry, so that they may continue to change the lives of our young.

Heritage Funeral Home, locally owned and operated, in Escatawpa/Moss Point, MS is in charge of arrangements. You may view and sign the online register book for Christie Hunt at www.heritagefuneralhome.us


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Previous Events

Visitation

Wednesday

8

Nov

2:00 PM 11/8/2017 2:00:00 PM - 3:00 PM 11/8/2017 3:00:00 PM
Liberty Church

Gautier Vancleave Rd.
Gautier, Mississippi 39553

Liberty Church
Gautier Vancleave Rd. Gautier 39553 Mississippi
United States

Service

Wednesday

8

Nov

3:00 PM 11/8/2017 3:00:00 PM
Liberty Church

Gautier Vancleave Rd.
Gautier, Mississippi 39553

Liberty Church
Gautier Vancleave Rd. Gautier 39553 Mississippi
United States
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