Hailed as a person whose warmth and sincerity elicited the same from others, Marie “Annette” Mundon put her family first — a trait she embodied until her life was cut short last week.
“She was one of those grandmothers who never missed one of her grandchildren’s rodeos unless she was sick, never a baseball game or anything the family was doing,” Mundon’s daughter, Sheri Carveiro, said.
It was in the interest of protecting the youngest of her seven grandchildren that Mundon died. The 7-month-old’s father attacked the grandmother the evening of May 9 at her Wailua home, hitting Mundon on the head while she was holding the child.
When she refused to hand over the baby girl, Duncan allegedly kicked Mundon in the chest, causing trauma that led to two subsequent heart attacks and her death last Thursday, according to county officials.
During the attack, Mundon’s husband tried to intervene, but he was also hit by Duncan.
Though her husband endured minor injuries, Mundon died the next day at Wilcox Memorial Hospital.
Those who loved Mundon are choosing to remember her generosity — a quality that helped her succeed at work as well as in life.
“She was such a good listener,” Michael Buenconsejo, one of Mundon’s friends and colleagues at Allstate Insurance, said. “People would just open up to her.
“She was a southern woman and she carried herself with southern grace, but at the same time she was a down-to-earth person who loved her family so much,” he said.
Of her Louisiana-born mother, Carveiro remembers fondly being told as a child that young ladies don’t wear black — one of many rules governing southern belles that seemed out-of-place growing up on the island.
Louisiana is where Carveiro’s mother and father, James “Bully” Mundon, met while he was in the service.
“He was stationed in Tree Fort (La.),” she said, “home to the Louisiana Hay Ride.”
A devoted wife who married a Hawaiian man, Mundon’s southern roots were deep-seated, Carveiro added.
“She was the largest Elvis Presley fan you could ever meet,” she said.
Also a fan of rodeo, Mundon was honored Sunday at the Kaua‘i All-Girls Rodeo Association. A riderless horse covered in flowers strode in her memory.
“A few people even had empty chairs in her honor,” Carveiro said. “It was very touching. … The family really appreciated it.”
Mundon’s family is hopeful that life will continue to honor her memory, Carveiro said. Pending are a funeral as well as the criminal charges against Duncan, the boyfriend of Jamie Mundon, one of the victim’s two daughters.
Jamie Mundon and Duncan have two children together. According to Carveiro, Duncan was trying to take them to see his father, who had just been released from prison.
Violent behavior was not unusual for Duncan, whose record includes family abuse charges for which he was found guilty in 2002 and 2003.
According to court documents, Annette Mundon made a motion for a temporary restraining order against him Jan. 11, 2005. The motion was denied, as was an injunction against harassment.
Carveiro said she hopes residents will take the problem of domestic abuse seriously and remember that it’s not always someone else who is affected.
“You always think it will never happen to you or your family,” she said. “You just don’t ever know because it could happen to you.”
Duncan is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail on manslaughter, assault, unlawful imprisonment and other charges at the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center.
His case was continued yesterday to 1 p.m. Wednesday in courtroom 2.