Obituary: James Richard “Dick” Hunt
June 12, 1927 – January 23, 2022
James Richard Hunt was a man for all seasons. He pursued a lifelong quest for learning and had a big heart for his fellow man. He was successful in his career, blessed with many lifelong friends, and a family he treasured.
Born at the start of the depression, Dick spent the first 12 years of his life on the gulf coast of Texas. There he developed his love of beaches and salt water, and he spent many days running barefoot at the bay fishing and crabbing.
At the age of 12 he moved to Missouri and from there attended 6 different high schools as his family was moved from job site to job site. He always said his favorite times in high school were n Salem, Missouri where he worked in the local drug store at the soda fountain. The owner allowed him to create his favorite daily ice cream dish – on the house!
Dick never graduated from high school and at the age of 17 he enrolled at Missouri School of Mines at Rolla, Missouri. After his first year of college, Dick left Rolla briefly to serve in the US Navy. At the end of the war he returned to The Missouri School of Mines, joined PKA fraternity, and graduated with a degree in Geophysics. The friends he made at Rolla were lifetime friends.
It was there on a blind date that he met the girl that was to become the Love of His Life. Dick and Shirley married in 1951 and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in March 2021.
He had a long career in Geophysics and was active in the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, serving on the board of the SEG for several years. His early years as a geophysicist brought him to the Roaring Fork Valley and along the way he and Shirley took his company bonus and bought a ranch up on Missouri Heights, just outside of Carbondale.
When he retired from geophysics, they relocated to Carbondale, Colorado. Dick was an active member of the community in Carbondale. He served as President of the Carbondale Rotary and his local HOA. He was active in their church, a founding member of the POETS lunch group, and busy with his ranch and their homesite in the Valley. Dick served on a local water board as well as
being appointed to the Water Board for the State of Colorado where he served for 10 years.
Dick and Shirley moved to their ranch house in the valley in 1976. Their house was the original ranch house in the Roaring Fork Valley, and they maintained it as a vintage showplace where many family weddings, baptisms, reunions, and birthdays were celebrated.
In his early days in Carbondale, Dick was an active jogger up and down Highway 82, a skier with his 10th Mountain friends, a golfer at the ranch at Roaring Fork course where he lived. He summitted Mt. Sopris in his 70’s and always loved throwing flies in the water to catch rainbows
and enjoyed feeding the swans.
He loved the Roaring Fork Valley and all the people here.
Dick is survived by his two daughters, Valerie Hunt Lankford and Susan Hunt Atkinson and her husband Al Atkinson. Dick and Shirley were blessed with six grandchildren and their spouses: Ryan and Tarryn Lankford, Brendon and Ashleigh Lankford, Meredith and Daniel Mata, Amy and Tim Dees, Laura and Richie Miller, and Luke Atkinson, along with a precious cast of characters in their 11 Great Grandchildren.
Dick was beloved by many and will be dearly missed.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Saturday, July 16th at Grace Church of the Roaring Fork Valley. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Grace Church of the Roaring Fork Valley, the Rotary Club of Carbondale, or the charity of your choice.
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