T. Willard Hunter M.Div. ‘73, S.T.M ‘77,
July 29, 2009
T. Willard Hunter died on July 29, 2009. He was 93.
Hunter was educated at Carleton College and Harvard Law School. He received an M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School in.
His family moved in 1959 to Claremont, CA. His career included the Christian ministry and higher education. He was an author and a noted orator and a charismatic and well-known presence in the Claremont area.
In the 1984 and 1985 Guinness Book of World Records, Hunter’s oratory skills were recognized for his 34-hour and 8-minute address at Independence Hall in 1982.
Hunter was a champion orator and debater, president of the student body, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and captain of the Midwest championship cross country team.
In the 1940s and the 1950s, he served in Africa, Washington, D.C. and Michigan as the associate of Frank Buchman, an “initiator of Moral Re-Armament (formerly Oxford Group), which gave rise to Alcoholics Anonymous.”
In 1959 he took a position with the Claremont University Center and Claremont Graduate School (now University) as the coordinator of development.
He took a one-year sabbatical as guest scholar as the Brookings Institution in Washington DC in 1966 and was the executive vice president of the Independent Colleges of Southern California from 1967-70.
Rev. Hunter then served as a minister with the United Church of Christ in New Hampshire until 1976, returning to work in communications at the School of Theology at Claremont (now the Claremont School of Theology) until 1980.
He wrote as a syndicated weekly columnist for newspapers in California and Illinois and authored several books including The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh: Another Dimension.
In 1977, he founded Claremont’s Fourth of July Citizens’ Oratory Program, the Good Friday Way of the Cross in Claremont in 1980 and the annual Labor Day Walk to Los Angeles from San Gabriel in 1981.
At Claremont’s 2009 Fourth of July celebration, the city presented a brief tribute to him.
Hunter’s funeral was held on July 7, 2009, at Claremont United Church of Christ. He is survived by one son, Willard. Two other sons predeceased him.