A Tribute to James Hunt DHS Class of 1957 - Herald Democrat June 16,2002

Jim Hunt Leaves Legacy of Kindness and Caring



Love for his fellow man and a desire to serve his community. That was the unanimous description given by just a few of the many people who knew Jim Hunt.

Mr. Hunt, well-known in the Denison business and school community, died Friday, at age 63, of health complications. He leaves behind not only a loving family but a legacy of kindness and caring that spanned his decades in the community.

Born on a farm between Van Alstyne and Gunter, Mr. Hunt moved to Denison with his family when he was a small boy. He graduated from Denison High School in 1957 and went to work in the transit department of State National Bank which was located in today's Bank of America in downtown Denison. While working, he completed a three-year course at the Southwest Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.

From the transit department, Mr. Hunt moved up within the bank, from relief teller to regular teller, assistant cashier, assistant vice president, loan officer, vice president and senior vice president of the bank. He later served as vice president of Grayson Bank.

Minnie Belle Leverette worked about 30 years with Mr. Hunt at State National Bank. Her memories of her long-time friend were poignant.  "James came to the bank as soon as he graduated from high school. He was a friend to a lot of people. He didn't make a lot of money, but it was unreal the amount of money he gave and things he bought for people that needed it," Leverette said. "There was a man that used to come to the bank that was kinda of mentally challenged. This man would stand outside the back door and Jim gave that man money every day to eat on."Jim was really a one-of-a-kind person. He did a lot of good for a lot of people. And he loved his mother. Every time she'd walk into the bank, he'd look at someone and say, "Isn't she the prettiest woman you ever looked at?"
"I don't know of anybody I ever worked with that was any more thoughtful of people as a whole than Jim was."
She said Mr. Hunt was quite an athlete and enjoyed a daily game of pinball with then bank president W.L. Peterson.
"But the thing I remember so much about Jim was his kindness towards people that were maybe not as fortunate as he was," Leverette said. "He would even cry with them. He was just a good man."

Don Booth also worked at the bank with Mr. Hunt. "I was 19 and Jim was 20. I started at the bank in 1959 and Jim started in 1957. I worked with him for 25 years-plus and it was very enjoyable. Jim was very knowledgeable in his work and he liked people."

Hunt will always hold a special place in Linda Hunt's heart. Her comments were brief as her voice broke.
"This is just real hard," said Hunt. "Jim was a great friend and mentor to me. I worked with him from 1972 until he left and went to Grayson Bank. Even after he left, he offered to help and guide me. He was a very caring man."
Not only did Mr. Hunt make his mark in the local world of banking, but on the Denison school board as well. He served as a trustee on the board from April 1985 until 1997 and served as school board president in the mid-1990's. Having three daughters of his own, Mr. Hunt had a special place in his heart for children. David Bayless Jr. recalled working with Mr. Hunt on the school board.

"When Jim was on the school board, I always found him to have an over-abundance of common sense which isn't that common anymore. He was always looking at everything from every side you could look at it from and always seemed to find the best opinion," said Bayless. "He always had the kid's concerns in mind more so than the parents or the taxpayers. "It was truly a loss to this community when he decided not to run for the school board any more."
Dr. Henry Scott, Denison school superintendent, said that up until a few months ago when his health worsened, Mr. Hunt would call him about every two weeks. He would congratulate Scott on all the good things happening in the Denison schools.

School board member, Gary Sewell, served on the board with Hunt. Dr. Scott reminded me that "Jim and my philosophies were much the same 'doing what is best for the kids.' The kids were number one in Jim's eyes. They were number one right up to the end."

Mr. Hunt was also a part of the Denison Planning and Zoning board, the Grayson County Appraisal District board and was president of the Oak Ridge-South Gale Water Supply Corporation. His work in these capacities also reflected his caring attitude.

"I worked closely with Jim when we were trying to provide service to the Oak Ridge South Gale Water Corporation and Jim provided really significant leadership during that process", said Denison City Manager, Larry Cruise. "I've known Jim for years and always had lots of respect and admiration for him. I was deeply concerned when he began having health problems. The loss of Jim will be a significant loss to the entire community. He was a good guy,a quality guy."

Mr. Hunt married the former Lois Means in 1960 and the couple has three daughters as well as several grandchildren.

By Lynette George
Herald Democrat


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