March 14, 2013 2:08 AM
Noted artist Dorothy Hunter passed away in Santa Barbara on March 7th, 2013.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Mrs. Hunter graduated from Dallas Art Institute, and during WWII moved to New York City while her husband - Robert Bruce Hunter - served in the army. She was a successful commercial artist for ten years in the 'Big Apple', doing fashion illustrations for Haire Publishing Company.
In 1949, the Hunters were looking for the most beautiful city in the world to settle and start a family. They chose Santa Barbara.
During the 1950's Mrs Hunter illustrated Katie Keene Comic book, and in the 1960's she was one of the original founders of 'The Foothill Artist's Workshop', a coop of artists with an active lecture series of visiting teachers they brought to Santa Barbara to refine and inspire their work.
The Hunter Family are members of 1st Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara since 1949. After Dorothy's husband - Bob - passed away in 1962, Dorothy help found, along with her friend Margaret Brown, the 'Sunday Circle' which was designed for women who worked Monday to Friday and therefore could not attend the weekly Bible Studies which most women of that era were free to attend. That 'Sunday Circle' bible study group continues to this day.
Mrs. Hunter remained active in Santa Barbara art circles for more than three decades, being a member of The Santa Barbara Art Association, and the Goleta Art Association, of which she was President. She had numerous gallery exhibitions at Gallery 113, La Arcada Court. She also was a long term member of 'Group 16', an artist group led by artist-teacher Tony Askew. Group 16 members exhibited their varied works based on a but seasonally changing) theme, together around Santa Barbara numerous times a year for more than 12 years. They critiqued and inspired each other with passion as a warm and generous community.
Mrs. Hunter worked at Frazee paint for more than 17 years during the era when Frazee Paint had an art department. She liaised with all Santa Barbara's local colleges to organize upcoming art class materials in coordination with local art professors. She was the 1st art supply mentor of locals store owners Kerry & Sam, who later when Frazee Paint closed their art department went on to open local store Santa Barbara Art Essentials, which is now owned solely by Sam. Mrs. Hunter continued at Frazee Paint even after their art department no longer served Santa Barbara, and many years was head of decorating and wallpaper consultations, teaching Santa Barbara's first Saturday morning do-it-yourself decorator workshops.
She was also the first of two Santa Barbara Artists invited to publish in the book: Artists of Southern California.
Mrs. Hunter was injured in a catastrophic accident in March 2006 which left her traumatic brain injured for life. She had to relearn a life with great effort over many years, which was not similar to her previous life. That seven year cycle exhibited her spiritual qualities of tenacity, perseverance, openness, trust, stamina, and an ability to adapt, especially since due to amnesia she learned to accept living in the unknown with full trust, until her new life could build into a life. Though her seven years were introvert, sustained by extraordinary care givers, she never gave up her effort to try to do anything that was asked of her, nor her thirst towards life. Seven years is a long cycle of being honed into new form of a special needs life. Even in extreme injury, her qualities connection, trust and love marked her as an extraordinary individual. She is beloved among many care givers & nurses in Santa Barbara.
Mrs. Hunter is survived by two daughters: Barbara Hunter McDowell and Deborah Hunter Mason; And by two grandchildren (by daughter Barbara): Ginger Bateman and Jason Graves; And by two great grandchildren: Kaiden James Bateman and Aliya Graves Smith.
Mrs. Hunter passed away peacefully at age 96 from complications of low blood pressure, having participated to her very best effort up to her final day.
Prayer services will be Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 3 pm in the Fireside Lounge at 1st Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93105.
Arrangements entrusted to Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.