December 6, 1932 – September 23, 2021
Carol Virginia Klune was born in White Plains, New York, on December 6, 1932, the daughter of motion picture executive Raymond A. Klune and Lillian Becker Klune. The family lived in Harrison, New York, along with her beloved older brother Donald.
Carol moved to the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, California, when she was three and grew up in a house her father built on Tigertail Road. During World War II, Carol’s family raised cows and chickens and a Victory Garden. She loved her chicken named Babyface and Dottie, the family dalmatian.
Carol graduated from Westlake School in 1950 and attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. She married high school sweetheart Willard L. Cummings Jr. in 1951 and daughters Cynthia and Linda soon followed. Bill and Carol moved to the Pacific Palisades in 1955.
Carol had been interested in becoming a veterinarian, and after she left the university to raise her family, animals continued to be her interest and passion. She always maintained a menagerie of pets and frequently rescued injured animals.
Carol was also athletic. She played volleyball, basketball and was on the swim team in high school. She enjoyed dancing, body surfing at Santa Monica beach and skiing with friends.
An automobile accident on Pacific Coast Highway in 1966 changed her life. Orthopedic surgeons put her back together and she was in a body cast for a year. Her recovery inspired her to return to her interest in medicine and she became a laboratory technologist and phlebotomist at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. She was the Lead Laboratory Technologist at St. John’s when she retired in 1994.
Carol loved to travel. She and second husband, David Cheresh, enjoyed Canyonlands in Utah and she also traveled to Europe, Africa, Thailand and China. Her trip to Africa was her favorite.
After retiring from St. John’s, Carol moved to Humboldt County in Northern California near Linda and her husband Doug Mortenson, building a small house on their property in Westhaven which she shared with her dog Lily. Carol loved her home, her dog, her garden and her family. She carefully kept the family history alive through stories often repeated to her descendants.
In 2016, as the result of her previous accident, Carol became a double amputee and had to leave her home for assisted living. She passed away September 23, 2021, in McKinleyville, California.
She is survived by her daughters Cynthia Murphy and Linda Mortenson, son-in-law Doug Mortenson, grandchildren Sean Murphy (Tiffany), Ryan Murphy (Adrien) and Alissa Mortenson Tyka (Mike) and great-grandchildren Natalie, Madalyn, Anna, Nolan and Nora Murphy; Zoe and Liam Murphy; Zephyr and Corvin Mortenson Tyka.
She was an iconic woman, truly a survivor. She was loved, admired and will be missed by all of us. A small family memorial is planned to celebrate her life. Donations to animal charities will honor her memory.
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