Our dad, Doctor Walter Hunt, completed his long journey home on April 5, 2018. Before turning the last bend in the road, he left another wonderful memory as he turned back to his remaining children and spoke a gentle goodbye with words of encouragement and hope. His eyes set in clarity and purpose as he rounded the last bend knowing his reward awaited him in the bosom of Jesus.
The journey began in a humble home of the depression years in a small college town in Michigan; July 16, 1931 to be exact! He was to be the first born of a brother and sister to determined parents that had to abandon happier dreams for the demands of those difficult times. His college educated father drove truck, built houses, and sought any and all work that would supplement the canning, gardening, and odd jobs his mother engaged. By middle school he began working so he could share in the cost of his own Christian education. It was in that classroom, one cold day, the pastor pulled him from class to gently tell him his father had died in his truck on one of those icy winter roads. He became a man that day and never looked back nor complained as he shouldered the impossible.
From high school to college the road had no rest areas, and he refused the exits as he excelled in grades, sports, and dating. It was a late night at his second job in a chemical plant that he questioned the molecular process that took rough metal to the shine of chrome. He took his first chemistry class to answer that one question, and a year and a half later graduated with enough science and enough ‘A’s” to head West with his new wife, a country girl from Hilmar, California. Too poor to pay his own way through Loma Linda Medical School, he joined the United States Army that honored him with tuition, in return for years of service. Graduating at the top of his class, he served to his potential and their highest expectations, awarding him the rank of Lt. Colonel after twelve years on five Posts.
Unable to have children of their own, Mary and Walter decided to adopt their first child, a baby girl, while in the final years of medical school. Bonnie needed a playmate and soon Roy, their first adopted son began to fill their car with all that baby stuff. They loved to load up their new 59 Chevy wagon and head to the Valley to spend their short vacations with Mary’s parents on the corner of American Road among the groves and dairy farms. It wasn’t long before that green and white Chevy wound its way up a narrow, redwood lined, and potholed asphalt trail, to a cabin tucked snugly between the hills above the Coast. A last turn and there they were, two orphaned boys, Dean and Harry straddling their bikes with toothless grins in anticipation of a picnic day with strangers. Within that month that 59 Chevy was crowded as they loaded their newest cuddly sweetheart, Laura into the back seat with the other babies and the two boys in the third row. It was off to a new Post in New Mexico as a family of seven. The road led on to Fort Benning, Georgia and then to Fitzsimons, Colorado. Yes, it was time, and yes the old 59 was still eating up the road as they answered the call to provide a home for yet another baby girl. Ruthie joined the family in the Spring of 63, to make for three boys and three girls! The children were comfortable and safe in that crowded Chevy as the lights illuminated the two lane road that led dad and mom back to the Presidio, nestled along the choppy shores of the San Francisco Bay. From that day to now, they knew their family was complete.
Dad has made the last bend in the road. Preceding dad in death are Bonnie, Harry, and Mary his wife of 60 years. He looks back one more time to see if his remaining children: Dean, Roy, Laura and Ruth and 12 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren are going to be ok. They wave and hope the distance hides the tears and mutes the choking cries. “We love you dad,” we say again as he acknowledges our assurance. “He is home now!”
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 14th, at 1:30PM in the Turlock Seventh-day Adventist Church.