Obituary: Kathy Mary Kunis, Sept. 27, 1946, to Nov. 7, 2018 |

Obituary: Kathy Mary Kunis, Sept. 27, 1946, to Nov. 7, 2018

Kathy Mary Kunis
Special to the Daily

Kathy Kunis, owner and director of Rumpelstiltskin Preschool for 38 years, died peacefully in her Thompsonville, Michigan, home on Wednesday, Nov. 7, of cancer. She was 72. Kathy will be remembered with love, not only by her family and friends, but also by the generations of Rumpelstiltskin children, parents and teachers.

The Rumpelstiltskin families were such an important part of her life and were equally devoted to her. The world has lost a bright light and loving soul.

Kathy’s life ambition was to inspire children’s imaginations and teach them we all have the ability to do great things. She received her M.S.Ed. in reading and began her career teaching elementary school in her home city of Chicago. After marrying Rob Kunis in 1969, Kathy taught at a school for underprivileged children in Georgia and later taught reading classes to soldiers at the Army base in Germany where Rob was stationed.

On returning to the United States, Kathy saw no reason why she and Rob shouldn’t make their lives in the Colorado mountains, a place she’d fallen in love with on a childhood visit. Since Kathy never let anything deter her once she’d set a goal, she started searching, came across a preschool for sale in Eagle-Vail, and in 1978, she and Rob opened Rumpelstiltskin, restructured by Kathy to meet her educational principles.

Kathy’s credo was to love unconditionally and live life fully, without regret. She loved the Vail Valley; loved the great outdoors, riding horses and skiing; loved discussing philosophy, history and literature over leisurely meals with friends; loved the sweeping valley views from the house she and Rob built in 1989 at the top of Wildridge.

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She also loved singing along loudly and badly to music, and she had such a passion for Mexican food that she would have packed up Fiesta’s and taken it with her to Michigan if she could have. Above all, she treasured spending time with the people she loved. And although she achieved in full measure her ambition to have a positive influence on the world through encouraging and shaping young minds, she considered her greatest accomplishment to be her daughter, Allison.

In the autumn of 2016, Kathy retired and moved to Michigan, where she devoted herself full time to her loved ones: her husband, Rob; her daughter, Allison; her son-in-law, Phil Shapton; her grandchildren Ryder and Lewis; her brother, Bob Fiske; Phil’s parents, Don and Judi Shapton, and their family.

Kathy and Rob would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in February.

Kathy’s family will honor her privately in Michigan. Vail Valley friends and family will be invited to celebrate Kathy’s life at a reception in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, and to honor Kathy’s guiding principle of helping others, you may make donations to the Munson Healthcare Hospice Organization. Please mail checks to 1105 Sixth St., Traverse City, MI 49684, or go to

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