A Tribute to Jean Hunter
I did a story earlier about a wonderful couple Iíve known almost all my life, John and Jean Hunter. On Sunday, February 13, 2005, at the age of 83 years, Jean (Ogletree) Hunter passed away. News of her passing brings sadness not only to her immediate family, but to many others whose lives were made brighter by just knowing her.
Jean was a close friend of my motherís during the years the four children in my family were growing up. We spent a great deal of time in the Hunter home over the years. There was always an atmosphere in their home that let any visitor know a warm welcome awaited anytime.
There are many ways Jean could be described. Words like warm and friendly, always smiling and happy, and a person who laughed a lot. Jean was a very kind and caring person too. A good example of Jeanís generosity and concern for others, including her neighbors, was shown following a devastating tornado that struck Livingston and Overton County in 1973. Miss Alta Copeland, an elderly lady, lived in a mobile home next door to the Hunters, and on the night the tornado struck, the mobile home, with Alta inside, was blown away. Miss Alta survived, but was badly injured. Following a lengthy recovery that included some time in the local nursing home, she was taken to the home of Jean and John where she lived out the remainder of her life. Had Miss Alta had anyone else as a neighbor, more than likely she would have remained in the nursing home instead of being taken in by someone was wasnít even related to her. But that is the kind of person Jean was.
Iíve always thought of Jean as being the most devoted wife I know of. She was always involved with whatever sport John was interested in, and that included hunting. They spent lots of time going on deer and wild turkey hunting trips, and had many close friends who shared this interest. It was nothing unusual for them to pack up their camper and head out somewhere for week long hunting trips. Irene and Oather Savage, Marvin and Stella Pennington were among those who went along on these trips. Jean had a lot of good memories she shared about all the fun they had while off on a trip together. Her love and devotion to her husband extended to sharing his interest in programs on the sports network, ESPN, as well. She was familiar with all the teams and watched the games with John. Personally, I always thought that was going above and beyond the call of duty for any wife, but that was just the way Jean was. Those she loved, she truly loved with all her heart.
Jeanís love extended to friends of their son, Johnny, as well. Both John and Jean always considered the four children in my family as part of their extended family. My brother, Phil, and Johnny have been and continue to be life long friends. David Sadler, who also grew up in the neighborhood, was someone else Jean and John thought of as another son. Family members of their daughter-in-law, Virginia (Peterman), also think of Jean as a second mother. She told me she got cards or telephone calls on Motherís Day from many she was close to.
Jeanís love and devotion to her husband has always been the top priority of her life, and has been especially so since 1993. At that time, John underwent knee replacement surgery in Nashville. Following the surgery, he suffered a massive stroke that left him partially paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. With long months of therapy and a loving and faithful wife who was always by his side, taking nothing but the best care of her husband, John partially regained his speech, and some use of his right side. Johnís welfare has always been Jeanís number one concern. Jean and John were both faithful members of the Walnut Grove Church of Christ and were in attendance every Sunday until Jean no longer continued to drive.
So many things about Jean will be missed now, among them her wonderful attitude about life, her smile and her laughter. She was a very special person who was loved by everyone who knew her. I count myself lucky to have spent part of my growing up years in her company, and I will treasure the happy memories I have, as well as the love and laughter shared in the Hunter home.