Neil, second son of Clarence N. Hunt and Helen Irene Matthews Hunt, was born in Maupin Ore. As a young boy he trailed the ranch sheep to Mt. Hood in the summers. Neil met his wife, Avis Hay, when they attended Wasco County High School in Maupin; their first date was a Veteran’s Day dance. Neil played football, basketball, baseball, ran track, and was selected for the 1952 Shrine All Star East-West football team. He was class clown and Valedictorian. Neil married Avis June 14, 1953.
Neil and Avis made their home on Criterion, Ore., where Neil partnered with his father to run the family ranch. They were awarded Cattlemen of the Year in 1957. Neil built his first house for the growing family. It was completed in time for their fifth child!
In 1965 Neil and Avis moved to wheat ranching for George and Fred Fax in Rice, south of The Dalles. It was an idyllic place to raise their family. They influenced other children as well. Neil was Scout Master for the Petersburg troop which included his son. In 1967 Neil and Avis became foster parents, caring for 49 foster children. After the Faxes retired Neil worked on the Limmeroth ranch and later the Miller ranch.
In 1980 Neil and Avis moved to Dufur Valley and built a new home big enough for the grandchildren. An active member of Dufur Christian Church, Neil served as Elder and often volunteered to help church and community members in need. They took up square dancing.
Neil was the original recycler. He fixed most things with recycled parts and if he couldn’t, he would invent something that worked. He recycled metal and parts into art which were popular gifts. Until just recently, Neil adopted Dufur Valley and Rail Hollow road and kept them litter free.
Neil lovingly cared for Avis, first at home, and then at Flagstone, until her death in 2017. Neil faded slowly after her death. On May 22, surrounded by his family, Neil passed away peacefully and is now dancing with his beloved Avis in heaven.
Neil is survived by his two brothers, Norman and Bill Hunt, son Alan, daughters Debra, Connie, Julie, and Sherri, and many foster children including Paul, John, and Tracy Boeder, and 11 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Dufur Christian Church on July 20, 2019, at 3:30 pm with a meal after the service. Donations may be made to the Dufur Christian Church Missionary Fund 315 Harrison St, Dufur, OR, 97021 or your local hospice organization.