Dr. William "Bill" Bryce Hunt, Jr. died on 9 November 2014 from metastatic bladder cancer and Parkinson's disease. He approached his death as he did his life, with dignity and humor.
In 2000, Dr. Hunt was predeceased by his wife of 50 years, Nancy Anne “N.A.” Robinson. He is survived by his children: Alexander "Alex" Howard Hunt, Honolulu, HI; Sarah Whitlock Hunt Engsberg, Vilano Beach, FL; Anne Robinson "Robin" Hunt Benedict and Edward "Corky" Benedict, Staten Island, NY; and Dr. William "Wick" Bryce Hunt, III, Alice Gore Hunt and their two children, Hannah Gore Hunt and Bentley Bryce Gore Hunt, Charlottesville. And by his wife of 13 years, Martha "Patsy" Irby Hunt, her four children and 12 grandchildren; and his sister, Nancy Nash, Washington, NC.
Bill was born on 27 September 1927 in Lexington, NC to Dr. William Bryce Hunt, Sr. and Maxine Cox Hunt. He graduated from the McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN (1944), Wake Forest College (1948) and the Bowman Gray School of Medicine (1953). After internships and residencies at the UVa School of Medicine (1953-55), he served two years as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. He returned to UVa to continue residency, then fellowships at UVa and Bowman Gray Schools of Medicine. He was an instructor in internal medicine at New York Medical College (1959-60) then returned to UVa School of Medicine, becoming associate professor and assistant dean (1960-75). During this time he became a diplomate of the National Board of Internal Medicine and a sub-specialist in Allergy and Immunology. He was president of the Virginia Thoracic Society, received the Bowman Gray School of Medicine's 1973 Distinguished Alumnus Award, the American Lung Association of Virginia 's 1975 Douglas Southall Freeman Award, the Virginia Society of Respiratory Care's 1987 Robert A. Bageant Award and, most importantly to his mind, was scoutmaster of Wick's Boy Scout Troop 107.
He quit smoking after the 1964 Surgeon General's Report was released and became a vocal proponent for public health, teaching quit smoking workshops and appearing on radio, TV and in print. He brought his classic black humor to the task, using graphic slides and Mad magazine articles to drive home his points. He was well liked and is still remembered by his medical students. A photograph of a student’s satirical portrayal of him in a UVa Medical School student play as "The Green Hornet" still hangs prominently in his house.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
In 1975 he left UVa for New Bern, NC and became founder and director of the Cardio-Pulmonary Services and Laboratories, and Medical Director of Respiratory Care at Craven County Hospital. While in New Bern, he was president of the NC Thoracic Society, the American Lung Association of NC, the Craven County Medical Society and a commissioner and executive committee member of the NC Medical Society as well as an Interim Director of the State Tuberculosis Central Division in Raleigh.
As a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the East Carolina School of Medicine, he served as president of the Eastern Area Health Education Center and traveled frequently in the area for continuing education lectures. He was Medical Director of the Carteret Technical College School of Respiratory Therapy, served on the National Board of Respiratory Care and was active on the national credentialing Board for Respiratory Care Educational Institutions.
He retired from the active practice of medicine in 1995 and as tuberculosis consultant for the Craven County Health Department in New Bern in 2007.
A life-long Democrat and Episcopalian, he was vestryman of St. Paul's Memorial Church, Charlottesville, and served on the vestry and was senior warden of Christ Church, New Bern. He was instrumental in getting a tunnel under the road from the sound to the beach front properties of the Episcopal Trinity Center in Pine Knoll Shores, NC and worked to establish the Center's Camp Trinity. He served on the Board of Directors of the Episcopal Church's Thompson’s Children’s Home in Matthews, NC. He, as a doctor, and Patsy, as general laborer, did post-Hurricane-Katrina recovery work on the Gulf Coast, sponsored by the Episcopal Church, in 2005.
He enjoyed many sports: tennis, bicycling, downhill skiing, golf, sail and motor boating, fishing and hunting. He collected guns for hunting as well as historical pieces. He loved to travel and dabbled in sports cars. He piloted several planes, including a 1943 Stearman bi-plane. One of his female friends told Patsy “He is the best dancer in New Bern.” He loved to read.
To explain his joie de vivre, he often said "I have no guilt, I have no memory." N.A. said of him “Always the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral.”
Nancy Anne died well before him in June 2000. Much to his children's relief and happiness he married, on 6 October 2001, one of N.A.'s best friends, Patsy.
After returning to Charlottesville in 2001, he participated in medical boards and helped found The Community Children's Dental Center (now called the Community Dental Center), a dental clinic for poor children, serving on its board of directors.
As he contemplated his mortality, he joked that his obituary be made longer than that of a deceased esteemed colleague. Ever the merry prankster, raconteur and competitor.
In light of his deep involvement with the Community Dental Center, the family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Bill's honor to The Community Dental Center, 259 Hydraulic Ridge Rd., Suite 101, Charlottesville, VA 22901, 434-293-9300, www.cadakids.org/donate.htm.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday 21 November 2014 at St. Paul's Memorial Church, 1700 University Ave, Charlottesville, followed by a reception at Westminster Canterbury, 250 Pantops Mountain Road, Charlottesville.
Bill was cremated and his ashes will be placed with those of Nancy Anne at Christ Church, New Bern. A memorial service and reception will be held in New Bern at a later date.