[I have borrowed this image of Pam Hunter from Studio 707, her Website and agency.]

Pamela Tompkins Hunter died Sunday, November 28, 2010, in the Napa Valley home she shared with her life partner Carl Doumani. Carl was at her side.

I’m just devastated to learn this very sad news, as Pam Hunter was one of Napa Valley’s pioneering women in public relations, and a woman I greatly admired. For me, it was mostly from afar. Our paths first crossed when I served as president of the Academy of Wine Communications. Pam was one of the members who always had cheerful and encouraging words for me… and such a beguiling smile. It was her smile that told me that she was such a rare and accomplished individual. We continued to know each other in brief passings, but I always felt her warmth when we’d occasionally encounter each other.

As I read the news about her passing away, I realized that heaven had retrieved one of its own. Then, when I read her life story in its entirety, as told on her Website, my heart just sank…

Pamela Tompkins Hunter died Sunday, November 28, 2010, in the Napa Valley home she shared with her life partner Carl Doumani, who was at her side.

Born September 25, 1948, in San Louis Obispo, California, to Edgar Logan Tompkins and Hazel Herrington Tompkins, Pam’s life was driven by a deeply felt passion for education, compelling human stories, and the power of the written word. She wove these together as a teacher, journalist, publicist, and lifelong advocate of girls and women’s causes.

I’m going to let you go to her site to continue with Pam Hunter’s life story, which has been beautifully written. That said, I must include two more paragraphs, in the event that you don’t have time to read the amazing legacy of this extraordinary woman right now. Whomever her biography’s author is is truly accomplished, and has captured the essence of this delightful soul…

Pam is perhaps best known as the founder of Hunter Public Relations and Marketing, which she established in 1978. The agency brought together two pursuits that gave Pam great joy and satisfaction: writing and advocacy. She led her firm with passion and discipline as it grew to become one of the largest in the region, ultimately serving a broad range of international clients and maintaining offices in San Francisco, New York, and Napa Valley. Pam and her colleagues pioneered an approach to public relations that is today’s standard. Her campaigns utilized an array of strategies and were designed for immediate and long-term effects. Hunter PR was respected nationally for its groundbreaking work introducing and promoting luxury wine and food and hospitality products and experiences. The agency was known among members of the national media for its integrity: a clear sign of the unique respect she earned is the number of esteemed, award-winning journalists who were among Pam’s closest friends during the last thirty years of her life.

Pam understood that the magic of a story was often hidden beneath the surface, and her inquisitive nature allowed her to reveal the salient kernel that brought her clients’ stories to life. She knew that the childhood food memories of a chef, the youthful travels of a winemaker, the origin of a rare spice, the weave of a beautiful fabric all held the makings of an authentic story that would grab the public’s attention. Pam relished her role as a voice for her clients, and found great satisfaction in bringing their stories to the world. She helped them build successful, sustainable businesses, and in many cases also helped protect their legacies for future generations.

Goodbye, dear friend, you are going to be greatly missed by so many people, including me…

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