Floral 11

Renée Bannister

December 5, 1937 ~ May 17, 2022 (age 84)


Renée F. Bannister, beloved mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and companion, died on May 17, 2022, at the Roper Cottages Hospice facility in Mount Pleasant. Always self-sufficient and loath to be a burden, Renée wrote her own, too-short obituary years before her death.  It is incorporated below, with appropriate additions and embellishment. 

Renée Friedlaender was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in December 1937, to Gregorio and Lucia Friedlaender, who were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. An architecture student at the top of her university class, she left school in her final year to marry Luiz Carlos S. Kuntz, M.D., and accompany him to the United States. Three children were born to the couple, namely (with, at her insistence, their corresponding professional titles/degrees): G. Ralph Kuntz, MD, Marcia B.F. Kuntz, Esq., and Charles A. Kuntz, DVM, DACVS.

When Renée came to the United States at the age of 21, in addition to her native Portuguese, she was conversant in English and French, which she had studied in school, and understood some Russian and German, both of which her parents spoke around the house when they didn’t want her and her older brother to understand. She quickly became fluent in English.  While never losing her Brazilian accent, she added a tinge of Charleston to it. 

In 1971, the family moved to Charleston. In 1978, she and Luiz Carlos divorced.  A prolific painter, Renée applied her architectural and artistic skills to a career in interior design at Southeastern Galleries, where she happily worked for 38 years. During her kids’ childhoods, Renée was the mother their friends loved, not because of her baking skills – which she had no interest in developing – but because of her warmth and willingness to engage with them. Always the extrovert, she had many friends in Charleston and for years stopped at the Variety Store for breakfast every day before work. She loved to ballroom dance and to go out to eat.  

A convert to Christianity, in the late 1990s, Renée joined Holy Trinity Anglican Church and around the same time, met Alex Sullivan, who became her lifetime companion. Together they took as many as three cruises per year, and nearly as many weeks-long road trips, visiting friends and family from Florida to Massachusetts and into Canada.  She said that the happiest years of her life were spent with Alex. 

Renée was the loving mother-in-law of Kate, Jamie, and Laura and proud grandmother of Kate and Charles’ children, Nicholas, Alexander, and Simon.  “Mimi,” as she was known to her grandsons, was very proud of the three boys, all of whom are or are training to be medical doctors in Melbourne, Australia, where the family lives.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 18, 2022 at 11 o'clock at Holy Trinity Anglican Church (95 Folly Road Blvd, Charleston, SC 29407).

Arrangements by PARKS FUNERAL HOME, 130 W. 1st North Street, Summerville, SC 29483. www.parksfuneralhome.com

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
June 18, 2022

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (Charleston)

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