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Silver Taps Notification

Donald Hunter '63 September 15, 2020 11:49 AM updated: September 15, 2020 12:56 PM

Donald Hunter

Donald Thompson Hunter left us unexpectedly on September 11, 2020 at the age of 79 to be with Jesus.

He was born in 1941 to Melba and Cecil Hunter. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, he was a Texan at heart. He was blessed to have a twin brother, Ronald (six minutes older!) to grow up with. He attended Spring Branch High School, graduating in 1959.

A proud graduate of Texas A&M University, Donald spent four years in the Cadet Corps and majored in Aerospace Engineering. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Susan Newkirk, and being commissioned as a 2ND Lieutenant in the US Army, his entry on active duty was deferred to complete advance degrees. He completed both a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering and a Ph.D. in Structural Mechanics. In 1967, he entered active duty and was stationed at NASA in Houston during the exciting time of early space travel.

After serving out his commission and a brief stint at Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio, Don became a professor at Louisiana State University, then moved to Pennsylvania in 1973 to be an engineer at the Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. In 1977 he moved to Wellington, Florida where he worked at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.

Just as he began his retirement in Jacksonville, Florida, his wife of 39 years, Susan, died in 2001 after a 9-year battle with cancer. During these years he was the best caretaker imaginable to his wife and daughters. Don said of their marriage, “we became as one, caring for each other and our family in both good times and bad.” Later in life, he wrote about the day she died, “I prayed a lot. I promised God that I would live my life to honor Him and I would appreciate my blessings, no matter what.”

Several years later he fell in love with and married Susan Bankston and moved to Lithia, Florida. They had just celebrated their 17th anniversary in June 2020.

Continuing a life in service to others, Donald was a long-time member and Sunday School Teacher at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, FL. He and Susan attended weekly and loved their many close friends in the congregation. Making over 9 trips to China, well into his seventies, he learned to speak Mandarin Chinese so he could better share the good news of Jesus to the people there.

In his free time, he loved golf, fishing, and spending time with his friends and family. A cancer survivor, he kept very fit, exercising regularly until his death.
Don was humble, kind, encouraging, generous, gentlemanly, disciplined, organized, intelligent, and a passionate follower of Jesus. He was the sweetest man and such a good listener because he loved others so well. He loved his silly words; for instance, he ended each correspondence to his daughters with LUABAB (Love You All Bunches And Bunches.) But above all, he was continually reminding us how much God loved each one of us and to follow Him.

Left to remember Donald and the happiness he brought us is his wife, Susan; a devoted twin brother, Ronald (Patricia); two loving daughters, Julie Wallace and Laura Fowler; two terrific sons-in-law, Eric Blomquist and Antley Fowler; eight grandchildren, all of whom he adored: Kathryn, Jared, Lauren Wallace and John Blomquist; Chase, Cole (Jemima), Blake, and Grace Fowler; stepsons, Mike Bankston (Amy), Troy (Kelly) Bankston, and Mark; step-grandchildren, Alex Bankston, Lizzie (Jonathan) Brickley, Brad (Hannah) Bankston, and Kamilla Bankston; and step-great-grandchildren, Harper, Hayven, Asher, Amos, Shiloh, and Truitt Brickley; Elijah and Zoe Bankston. In addition, Don loved his nephews, Ronald (Valerie) Hunter, Douglas (Stacy) Hunter, and Mark (Toby) Muncaster.

His family and friends are heartbroken but comforted by the wonderful memories of Donald’s love and his faith in Christ that influenced so many.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, September 18, 2020 at 1pm at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in the Chapel. A reception will follow. Our wish is that it be an uplifting day and will help begin the healing process that we must now complete.

In memory of Donald, he would want others to benefit from this. Please consider a donation to Global Missions at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Brandon Campus. 2102 Bell Shoals Road, Brandon, FL 33511

To live is Christ and to die is gain. Death is swallowed up in life! O, death, where is thy sting? We do not grieve as those who have no hope... for our life and our hope are in Jesus the Christ.

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