We’re running on empty, exhausted after arriving in NJ at 6:30 a.m. Sunday on a red-eye flight from Phoenix. We didn’t sleep much on the plane, sandwiched in a middle seat, and we didn’t take a nap today, since we were running around trying to catch up on Christmas stuff.
But we felt compelled to blog about the shocking death of ex-Evine host Connie Kunkle. We were on vacation when we read abut her demise, at the young age of 58, on Facebook. We didn’t have a laptop to write about it when it happened, but it truly disturbed it and caused us sorrow, in a haunting way.
We were even more stunned to read that Kunkle had died of a special kind of dementia. How could that be? She was so young.
Her friend Andy Taylor posted the news last week.
Friends of Connie: It is with deep sorrow that I share that our friend Connie Kunkle has passed away at age 58. Little more than a year ago, Connie was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, at which time she moved to Texas to be with her sister, Judy. In the last few months, Connie transitioned to a memory care facility where she received loving care.
I hope it brings some comfort that Connie never ceased to be her wonderful self, with the sparkling green eyes, and delighted her caregivers despite her advancing condition. She passed peacefully in her sleep last night.
My 36 yr. friendship with Connie began with Disney Entertainment in Florida, after which she starred on Broadway and touring companies, sang around the world and in recent years was a very popular and dynamic on-air host for ShopNBC (now Evine).
Arrangements will be forthcoming. I know we all share in this shock and grief and are heartbroken. Please share this news with anyone who would want to know. Most of all, please know that Connie is no longer bound to a broken body and mind, and is now with her heavenly father, probably belting out a show tune – that’s our Connie!
The tributes poured in about the vivacious and gorgeous blonde host. We enjoyed her her on ShopNBC/Evine, and blogged about her “early retirement” exit from the network in March.
At the time, Evine announced that Kunkle was leaving and gave no hint about her dementia diagnosis.
EVINE Live Host Connie Kunkle wanted to share the following message with all of her fans:
“It is with a sad heart that I inform my EVINE Live customers, coworkers and friends, that I am leaving my position as an On-Air Host and taking early retirement. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the company and my interactions with its loyal and loving customers. I will miss the encouragement and friendship from this community. I appreciate your support, and I will miss each of you. A special thank you!”
We want to sincerely thank Connie for all the smiles and laughter she has brought to us and her viewers over the past 11 years. We wish her all the best as she starts this new phase in her life and will miss her dearly. Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy a few fun clips of Connie over the years plus share your favorite Connie memory in the comments below.
We had her bio from Evinelive.com, but had no idea how deep her background was as a performer and singer.
We’d venture to guess that most Americans have friends or family who have suffered from dementia, and we so wish that scientists would come up with a cure. It is complicated: We used to blog about TBI and dementia for our former college boyfriend.
There are many kinds of dementia, with different causes, and dementia does not equal Alzheimer’s. But it does translate to heartache for those who get it — whatever kind — and their caregivers.