Remembering Kalilah Hunter, long loved at Luna Park Café

Just before our recent storms, friends got the devastating news that Kalilah Hunter, known by many for her work at the temporarily closed Luna Park Café, had passed away. Here are remembrances they’re sharing:

Our dear friend Kalilah “Shmeow” Hunter sadly departed this world on December 16, 2022. She was 37 years old.

Kalilah was raised in Spokane and has been a West Seattle resident for around 15 years. Since she arrived in West Seattle, she has been a beloved consistent face at Luna Park Cafe. She found her chosen family at the cafe in her coworkers and regulars who she truly loved so much. She was a face so many looked forward to seeing during breakfast time especially at the cafe. Luna Park was her home and it was a part of her heart.

Kalilah had so many friends in so many different circles and was so very loved by all who got to know her. When she first arrived in the Seattle area, she was very active in the punk scene. For years she was a valued integral part of The Morgue underground punk venue. It was there at The Morgue that she made so many lifelong connections that she cherished so much. She always spoke about The Morgue with so much love and admiration, and she was very nostalgic about that very special time in her life. In general, though, as many know about her, first impressions were not her strong point. But with a bit of patience, once she let her guard down, she showed the loving and caring person she was protecting. Sometimes her love came natural and sometimes folx had to work for it. And I assure you, it was worth the wait, because to love her and be loved by her was a true gift. Her family circle was far and wide and included all different types of individuals, never with judgement, only with love.

Kalilah’s list of interests and accomplishments are vast. She was a yearly participant in the Polar Plunge and raised a lot of funds for the Special Olympics over the years, and she was a huge supporter of ASL (American Sign Language). She was a true advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and she always was ready to stand up and fight for equality and human rights. Shmeow was an incredible artist and produced hundreds of drawings and paintings during her art career. From cartoon characters to portrait realism, her immense talent was recognized by all. She was a proud member of the HappyTime Apocalypse art gallery at The Greenwood Art Collective for many years. Cats were prominent in her work, reflecting the intense love she has for all of the kitties of the world. Her art is a legacy that will bring joy and happiness for lifetimes to come. And her sense of humor was unmatched. She is truly one of the funniest and quirkiest people you ever have met, hands down. Laughs were always present in her company to say the least.

Sadly she leaves behind her kitties, Lilly and Ajah, best doggie friend Noodle, father and 2 sisters, incredible partner Lincoln, roommate Rachael, her favorite kiddos Victor and River, and SO very many of us who considered her family and loved her dearly. This is a loss of epic proportions for many and our lives will never be the same without her. Kalilah’s impact on the world was immeasurable, and she will truly live on in the hearts of all of those who she touched. She will be sorely missed forever.

Tributes from a few of those she touched:

“We are saddened to say that our beloved Kalilah has passed away. As most of our regulars know, Kalilah was a Luna Park staple. She started at Luna 15 years ago as a very young shy hostess. She blossomed into a great waitress loved by all her customers. There has never been such a sweet and quietly funny member of the Luna team. The Luna staff has always been family where most are lifelong friends. We were looking forward to Kalilah coming back when we reopened. She will be missed by all her customers, friends, and family. Rest in peace, sweet Kahlilah.” – John A. Bennett

“My family have been Luna Park regulars since before I was born, and that tradition has continued for the past 21 years. Though I’ve spent the last 5 years working with Kalilah at Luna Park, our relationship began with me as a wide-eyed kid in her section every week, in awe of her older, quirky, punk coolness. In this way it feels like I’ve known her my entire life, and I guess I have. I’ll never forget how excited she was when, at 16, I started working at Luna, and how immediately welcomed I felt, due in no small part to her enthusiasm and warmth (she is likely somewhere cosmically cringing at being described as warm and enthusiastic, but it’s true.) She was endlessly patient with me at this time, and despite my incredible awkward-teenagerness when we began working together, she always treated me like her peer. Over the years that we worked together and in the last few years specifically, she became my close friend and one of my favorite people in the world. I don’t think I ever told her this, but every week I eagerly scanned the schedule to see if we were working together (we always were), as the prospect of getting to spend time with her made me excited about getting up in the morning. She was endlessly cool and funny and truly, deeply, badass. Despite her badass exterior, however, she was never truly cynical. She loved so hard and so deeply, and if you had the honor of being her friend, you know how dedicated she was. She was unwaveringly loyal to those whom she loved, and was earnestly dedicated to making sure they felt it. I will feel honored to have known her for the rest of my life. I have enough stupid anecdotes of the shenanigans we got into to fill a whole book, but I’ll spare you that right now. I hope that wherever she is, she knows how incredibly loved she is. By myself, my family, and the community at large. F*cking love you, Shmeow. I’m gonna miss you. – Clara Humphreys & the Messier-Humphreys family (Tom, Carolin, and August.)

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

4 Replies to "Remembering Kalilah Hunter, long loved at Luna Park Café"

  • T Rex December 30, 2022 (12:28 pm)

    What incredibly sad news. I wish peace to her family and friends. 

  • Sweetpea December 30, 2022 (1:31 pm)

    This is hitting all of the Luna folks pretty hard.  I’ve know Kalilah ( I called her Leeler) since BL  ( Before Luna) and knew she would fit right in.  Spent every weekend working with her, and she was such a wonderful friend and coworker.  We did so many things outside of work.  I miss her so much already.  I know some of our Luna Customers will miss her too, and all of her friends.  Everyone that helped with the post above are far more eloquent than I,  but  I just gotta say,  I know she touched everyone she met, and there will never be another like our  Shmeow.  <3     Her besties/2 Luna folks are doing a gofundme  and if anyone is interested in helping out,  here is the link.    Thank you all so much.

  • Alki resident December 30, 2022 (9:00 pm)

    Was she sick? Why did she pass away? So sorry for your loss. 

  • Cassyfrass January 2, 2023 (11:25 am)

    Kalilah was an intense bright light. I met her about 12 years ago, also working at Luna Park cafe. We didn’t hit it off at first, but very quickly it was evident that we had so much in common including out terrible sense of humor, that we became very close friends. Kalilah would make me laugh so hard every day I saw her, and was always one of my most loyal and trustworthy friends. Not only was she kind to humans, but she loved all creatures dearly, big and small. I watched her go absolutely above and beyond for her cats, and would frequently message me to tell me about some cute dog she saw on a walk. From sharing our love of fried bologna to quoting the entirety of The Simpsons, Kalilah was someone I truly bonded with. I will forever miss you my friend. Wherever you are, have a good’n mhhmmm 🖤🖤🖤

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