Elmer C. "Dutch" Hunter, 91, passed away in Helena, Montana on Sept. 28, 2012, of natural causes. He was born on Nov. 30, 1920, in San Francisco, California, to Carroll Francis Hunter and Esther (Wiese) Hunter.
Following the death of his mother in 1934, Elmer moved back with his father to the family homestead ranch in Snowmass, Colorado.
As a young man, Elmer worked and lived at the ranch in the summer months, and boarded with families in the town of Glenwood Springs, where he attended Garfield County High School. He was active in sports and in the Boy Scouts, attaining an Eagle Scout rank. At Garfield High, he met his future bride, Barbara Jean Juhan. He graduated as one of the top of his class in 1939.
He attended Colorado State University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Economics.
During his college years, Elmer and Barbara were married in 1942.
In 1943, Elmer began his years of Military Service, which were to have a profound impact on his life and his philosophy. He began active duty in the Army in 1943.
Following Officers Candidate School, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and was assigned to the 696th Armored Field Artillery Battalion. Elmer was staged to England with the 696th, and arrived in France on the Normandy beachheads several weeks after D-Day.
Elmer saw combat duty across France and into Germany, and was a participant in the Battle of the Bulge. He received a number of decorations during the war, including the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and "V," the Purple Heart, and a Presidential Unit Citation. In many respects, those war years were the defining years of his life. In the years to come, there was no conversation that could not spark Elmer to insert at least one war story - and often several.
On his return to the States, Elmer earned a Master's Degree in Economics from Colorado State University and a Ph.D in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. The work on his education was interrupted for a time when he was called back to active military duty during the Korean War, stationed in Germany.
Elmer and Barbara had three children, David, Carroll Jo, and Chuck. Elmer and Barbara spent the years of the 50s first in Rifle, Colo., where Elmer ran a family ranch, and then in Fort Collins, where Elmer was the Senior Agricultural Economist for the United States Department of Agriculture. He also taught courses in agricultural economics at Colorado State University.
Elmer's time in Europe during the military gave him an appreciation of European history and culture, and he was determined to share that appreciation with his family.
In 1964, he took his family, including his mother-in-law, on a six-week tour of Europe - all packed into a Volkswagen microbus. It was a formative experience for all of the children, and provided years of memories and laughs for the whole family.
Elmer and Barbara moved the family to Connecticut in 1967, where Elmer took a job as the Director of Market Research for Ciba-Geigy Chemical Company. Elmer moved with the firm to Greensboro, North Carolina when they relocated their company headquarters, and he retired there in 1986.
Elmer was active in his community. He was President of the Kiwanis Club in Rifle, and in Fort Collins, Colo. He served on the board of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. Elmer was active in the Boy Scout Program all his life, and he received the Scout's Silver Beaver Award for his service.
In his lifetime, Elmer was a military man, a rancher, a professor, and a corporate professional. He had an opinion, usually conservative, about everything; and he was happy to tell you about it. He believed in honor and in duty, and tried his best to instill those values in his children.
In the last few years, Elmer was challenged by cognitive issues. But as the many folks who met him at Hunters Pointe, the Cooney Home, and at the Rosetta Home could tell you, you could find him at his happiest when he had a scotch and a cigar, and a ready audience for a war story.
Elmer was preceded in death by his daughter, Carroll Jo Hunter; his second wife, Sally Baumgarten Hunter; and his third wife, Jo Crutcher Hunter. He is survived by his first wife Barbara; his sons David Hunter (Linda Carlson) of Helena; and Chuck Hunter (Casi) of Helena; and grandchildren Jeff, Tia and Cole Hunter and Tyler Bracken, of Helena; Wynne Foote of Denver; Lynn (Gary) Bird of Grand Junction; Lee (Autumn) Crutcher of Norwood; and John (Beth) Crutcher of Princeton N.J.
Anyone who wishes to honor Elmer may make a donation to their local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.