Cynthia C. Runberg
1947 - 2019
Cynthia Casale Runberg

Chapel Hill

Cynthia Casale Runberg, of Chapel Hill, NC, died peacefully from colon cancer on December 16, 2019 at UNC Hospitals, surrounded by her family. She was 72 years old.

Cynthia was born on October 2, 1947 in Falls River, MA to Charles and Shirley Casale. Cynthia grew up in Providence, RI and graduated from Pawtucket West High School where she loved reading, travel, fashion and escaping to Newport and the beach. At the age of 20, Cynthia met the love of her life, Bruce, while he was stationed in Davisville, RI with the US Navy Seabees. They were married on September 16, 1969, ahead of their deployment to Edzell, Scotland. Bruce's Naval career took them all over the world, from Scotland to Japan and from Hawaii to Charleston before settling in Chapel Hill in 1992.

Cynthia and Bruce have two sons, Trevor, 43, and Court, 40. Cynthia loved her boys dearly and was blessed with two beautiful granddaughters, Mae, 5, and Rowan, 2. Cynthia made her granddaughters the focus of her heart and time in the last years of her life.

Over the course of her life, Cynthia balanced her unwavering devotion to her family with significant spiritual, educational and professional accomplishments. She enrolled in college, graduating from the College of Charleston in 1984 at the age of 37. She counseled students, adults and families in her professional career as a Life Coach and through her work with Family Systems therapy. Dedicated to lifelong education and self-improvement, Cynthia spent a day of her last weekend in continuing education training around Family Systems counseling.

In addition to battling colon cancer, Cynthia had battled and beat breast cancer--she was an ardent advocate for cancer patients' quality of life and experience throughout their fight. Cynthia was an active and committed volunteer at every stage of her life. In her words, she always "showed up" for her community, her family and her friends.

Cynthia loved Bald Head Island and the beach. She loved her morning walk. She loved her yoga practice and the peace and connection it brought to her. Cynthia simply loved life, living it with a strong faith and a sense of joy, compassion and especially fun. She viewed this world and experienced this life through her heart and chose to live dying rather than die living. Cynthia remains an inspiration to us all.

'Love the life that you are, for it is your living prayer to God.'

Cynthia is survived by her husband, Bruce, of Chapel Hill, NC; her son Courtney of Pittsboro, NC, his wife Evie and their daughter Rowan; her son Trevor of Charlotte, NC, his wife Ruth and their daughter Mae; and her two sisters, Paula Alves of Providence, RI and Nancy Catalfomo of Cashiers, NC.

A celebration of Cynthia's life will be held on Friday, January 10, at 5:00pm at the UNC Botanical Gardens in the Reeves Auditorium, 100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517. All friends, family and acquaintances are welcome. Cynthia's ashes will rest at UNC's Memorial Garden and Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UNC Palliative Care Program ( or the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (
Published by The News and Observer & Herald Sun on Dec. 22, 2019.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Celebration of Life
UNC Botanical Gardens in the Reeves Auditorium
100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC
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5 Entries
I'm saddened to read of the passing of Cynthia. She was a special friend of mine. My heart is filled with so many happy memories of our days together. God bless Bruce and her family during this difficult time.
Sandy Lynch
January 7, 2020
Susan Anderson
January 6, 2020
Our sympathies to you and your family Bruce.

Karen and Edward Gill Am. Legion Post 6
December 26, 2019
Cynthia was a great help to me during a very difficult time. I remember her with respect and fondness. Blessings and peace.
Jonathan Ward
December 25, 2019
May the Lord bless your family.
Greg Smith
December 25, 2019
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