Emory Calvin Hunter

Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011

Emory Calvin Hunter, 88, died July 3, 2010 in Lake Stevens, Wash. Emory was born April 10, 1922 in Marshall and graduated high school in Eklutna in 1939. At his own request, his body will be cremated and no services will be held.

In 1939, Emory began a long and interesting career in the maritime industry with his apprenticeship aboard the motor vessel North Star before he transferred to the Boxer. At the outset of World War II, he worked at Boeing Aircraft Co. building B-17 bombers. The lure of the sea and his interest in things mechanical prompted him to attain his engineer’s license. In 1942, he shipped out on the troop transport James B. Houston and served in the Aleutian campaign. In 1946, he received an honorable discharge from the Army Transportation Corps, Mariner Field. He continued his seafaring ways and served on ships for Matson Navigation, San Francisco, U.S. Lines of Portland, and Alaska Steam of Seattle.

In 1948, he joined the Civil Aeronautics Administration as a maintenance mechanic of ground facilities in Bethel. In 1950, he transferred to the Juneau sector as an engineer aboard the service vessel Fed-Air 3 for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stations throughout Southeast Alaska. In 1974, he finally quit the sea and took up residence at Sisters Island, his last duty station with the FAA.

During his 32 years in civil service, Hunter received many awards and his family wrote he was most proud of the commendation reading: “For significant accomplishments and sustained excellence.” Emory retired in 1980 and moved with family to Hoonah, but soon found out that retirement was not for him. He hired on as maintenance mechanic and winter watchman for Wards Cove Packing Co. at Hoonah Cannery, retired again in 1995 and moved back to Juneau, where he hired on as tram operator and cabin conductor for the new Mt. Roberts Aerial Tramway. Four years later, Emory decided that was enough “ups and downs” and retired to volunteer work until, as he put it, he “ran out of gas.” Emory’s hobbies were photography, videography, and an occasional strum on a guitar, pretending he was Willie Nelson or Gene Autry. Emory was a faithful member and lector at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Juneau.

Emory is survived by his bride of 47 years Frieda G. Hunter; sister Fortuna Odell; nephew Buddy Odell; daughters Schatzie Hunter, Paula Blair Three Stars and Lenore Three Stars; grandchildren Charise Hunter, Raphael Watt, Jr., Richele Blair and Rio Three Stars; great-grandchildren Freedom and Ocean Hunter, Brody Three Stars, Alana and Orion Watts and a multitude of beloved nieces and nephews. Condolences may be sent to PO Box 1833, Ignacio, CO 81137.

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