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Sunshine "Sunny" Rose Hawthorne-Riggin

From the Hamilton neighbors: Obituaries for January 17 series
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Sunshine "Sunny" Rose Hawthorne-Riggin

Sunshine "Sunny" Rose Hawthorne-Riggin

HAMILTON - Sunshine "Sunny" Rose Hawthorne-Riggin, 66, of Hamilton, MT passed peacefully of natural causes in her home on the sunny Sunday morning of January 9, 2022.

Sunny was born January 6, 1956 in Hamilton, MT. She grew up in many western Montana towns. Sunny loved her childhood and enjoyed the rivers, streams, lakes and sunshine of the wide open spaces of Montana. Driven by a sense of adventure, Sunny moved to Great Falls where she tended bar and waitressed while making numerous friends. In 1974 Sunny gave birth to her only child, Matt Karlson. Sunny could not resist the call of the Bitterroot Valley and she moved back to Hamilton. Sunny quickly found employment at The Coffee Cup Cafe, where she expertly waited tables for nearly 15 years. Sunny made friends with everyone and established many "regulars" in her time at The Coffee Cup. Many patrons would wait to be seated in Sunny's section as they enjoyed her service so much.

Along with her kind demeanor and sense of humor, Sunny will be remembered for the variety of cat pins she proudly wore one at a time on her shirts. Sunny loved cats and had many feline companions in her lifetime. Along with cats, Sunny loved the sunshine and made sure she always had a nice tan, even if it meant sneaking some rays from a tanning bed! Sunny also enjoyed drinking coffee and visiting with friends and family in-person and on the phone. After her retirement, Sunny particularly enjoyed her time spent with "the love of her life" Brian Hooge. Though they never married, Sunny and Brian had a special friendship that they both cherished. They shared most afternoons and evenings together, taking turns at each other's houses visiting and solving all the world's problems and laughing at Bobby Brown videos. They also enjoyed driving up and down the Bitterroot Valley visiting Brian's job sites. Sunny enjoyed God's Word on her Holy Bible app that she read each day.

Sunny is survived by her friend and companion, Brian Hooge and his children Hannah and Dominic Farrenkopf, Verina and Jeff Strong and their children, Sara Jane Hooge and her children, Joe and Rena Hooge and their children. Sunny also leaves behind her son Matt Karlson. She leaves behind her sister, Susan and Jerry Fantuzzi and their four children, Michelle, Jennifer, Johna and Jaime. Sunny leaves behind her twin sister, Margaret and Ian Little, and their daughter Eilidh. Sunny leaves behind her Uncle Cliffy. Sunny leaves many nieces and nephews including her niece Jenny Simmons in Belgium. Sunny also leaves behind her beloved feline friend, Miss Tweedy. Sunny was preceded in death by her father, Willis Simmons.

A simple graveside service, as per her request, will be held Friday, January 14, 2022 at 2:00 pm at the Victor Cemetery in Victor, MT. Arrangements are under the care of Daly Leach Memorial Chapel. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in memory of Sunny to any organization that assist cats, as cats were so important to Sunny. She would always say, “I love life, sunshine and cats!” Condolences may be left for the family at

Remember me for what I was

Not what I couldn't be.

(or what you thought I should have been)

I'll follow my own instincts

I'll turn and walk away,

I'll forge another path

I'll disappear into the rain.

Remember me for what I was

Not for the situation I am in now,

I'll walk into tomorrow

I'll melt into the sun.

Remember me for what I was

and shall Never be again...


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