Robert (Bob) A. Hunt
HUNT: Robert (Bob) A. Hunt, 80, of Clarksboro, formerly of Woolwich, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on January 3, 2024, in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Bob was Robert to his friends and family growing up in Swedesboro. He was born in the May Haffey Private Maternity Hospital on September 29, 1943, and grew up across the street from the hospital on Park Avenue. After graduating from Swedesboro High School in 1961, he attended Delaware Valley College for 2 years where he played football. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Glassboro State College while also working a series of jobs at Richman’s Ice Cream, E. I. duPont, and Atlantic City Electric. Bob later obtained his Master’s Degree in Pupil Personnel Services. He spent his entire 42-year career in education at Kingsway Regional High School where he first taught middle school social studies, coached football, and then spent the latter half of his career as a middle school guidance counselor. Bob’s classroom was his domain, and he ran a tight and tidy ship. In 1973 he was required to ‘lend’ his classroom for one period each day to a new English teacher whom he assumed was married. However, when MISS Bereznai wrote her name on the board at the beginning of the 3rd marking period, Bob took note. He married the new teacher, Ruth Bereznai, on November 29, 1975 – the Saturday after Kingsway football season ended.
Although Bob’s childhood was spent in Swedesboro, he spent many carefree weekends and summers on his grandparents’ farm in Center Square. Bob, Ruth, and their young children moved to a small acreage in Woolwich Township in 1988. After visiting the Salem County 4-H Fair, Bob shared his young son’s eagerness to join 4-H and the family began acquiring their own farm animals. This led to Bob and his 13-year-old son eventually building a 24’ x 32’ barn with their own hands. Soon Bob and Ruth found themselves leading the Salem County Young Shepherds 4-H Sheep Club. When their daughter became interested in pursuing the competitive world of the sheep show circuit, they began hauling purebred Romney sheep to shows along the East Coast. Bob’s hammer never rested as he willingly and happily built a new pen or cage for the next sheep, goat, chicken, duck, or rabbit that found its way home with Ruth and Lauren. In addition to the animals, many friends of the children, 4-H’ers, and even 2 Japanese exchange students found their way to Bob’s gentleman’s farm. He delighted in his family, his outdoor companion, an Australian Shepherd named Spin, indulged his wife’s newfound love of ‘barn life’, and loved his country homestead. He was always available to lend a hand to neighbors or friends. A member for many years of Bethesda United Methodist Church, he annually supplied farm animals to the church’s Living Nativity. As if the farm chores weren’t enough, Bob also found time to be a Cub Scout Den Leader, assistant Little League coach for Jared’s baseball team, and coach for Lauren’s girls softball team.
Bob shared his love of sports with his son Jared. In Jared’s younger years they were eager fans of the Phillies, so much so that they traveled to Cooperstown for the Mike Schmidt & Richie Ashburn Hall of Fame induction ceremony. In later life, Bob and Jared bonded as ardent Eagles fans. When his daughter began performing in high school musicals, he never missed a performance. When she pursued and obtained a master’s degree in Opera Performance, everyone who knew Bob was totally amazed that his musical preferences now included opera in addition to Country and Pop. Bob enjoyed many vacations at various New Jersey beaches and eventually he and Ruth would purchase a second home in Ocean City, NJ. He was devoted to his widowed mother-in-law, Dottie. His only grandchild, Talia, was the spark in later life that brought him incredible joy and he was an integral part of her young life. Bob took delight in walking Talia to her first day in kindergarten at the Margaret Clifford School. (Miss Clifford had been his very own kindergarten teacher.) Bob also spent numerous years as a member of the Swedesboro-Woolwich Board of Education. A hometown boy through and through, Bob had many fun and heartwarming stories to share with his family about life in Swedesboro and the surrounding area in the late 40’s and 50’s that are reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell illustration – carefree summer days swimming in the lake, sledding on Franklin Street, riding bikes along farmland back roads, hometown shops where everyone knew your name. In later years he took an interest in genealogy, in local history, and especially the many dairies that once surrounded Swedesboro. He began collecting milk bottles from those former local dairy farms.
After having always been a runner, football player and coach, and doing heavy work at his “farm”, Bob was stricken with heart disease at the age of 58; his left ventricle was not functioning properly. Originally thought to have a viral cause, recent research may find his type of heart disease to have genetic implications. He responded well to medication for over 10 years until his heart began to fail. Still working at Kingsway with his worsening heart, he retired in 2012. His health finally necessitated a move from his beloved acreage to an over 55 community in 2014. In 2015, he was fortunate to be directed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania by his local cardiologist, Dr. M. Scott Dawson, where, as a participant in an FDA national study of LVAD’s (Left Ventricular Assist Device or a heart pump) he became a participant in heart disease research. He was one of the first people in southern New Jersey to be the fortunate recipient of an LVAD. His journey is a testament to personal courage, and to the amazing work of researchers, medical engineers, and medical professionals. Today LVAD devices continue to be perfected to be less intrusive, function more smoothly, result in less complications, and science continues to amaze. The family is forever grateful to his medical teams both here in NJ and at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for affording Bob additional quality time with his family.
Bob is survived by Ruth, his wife of 48 years, his son Jared and his wife Joni, and their daughter, Talia Hunt, all of Swedesboro, his daughter Lauren Hunt and her husband Alex Mamut of Fair Lawn, NJ, his sisters Joanne Olbrich, June Moncrief (husband Nick Tonzola), Michele Hitchner (Jon), brother-in-law Steve Bereznai (Jeannie), sister-in-law Tricia Thompson (Keith), and eight nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his mother, Barbara Eastlack Moncrief of Woodstown, his mother and father-in-law, Michael and Doris Bereznai of Paulsboro, his grandparents, Joseph and Anna Eastlack of Swedesboro, and Foster and Edith Hurff Hunt of Center Square.
Arrangements by Daley Life Celebration Studio, Swedesboro, NJ, where family and friends may call on Saturday, January 20, 2024, from 9am – 11am; service 11am – 12pm; interment private at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
American Red Cross (redcross.org)
Bob had the rare distinction of having been a 5-gallon blood donor and then eventually
also received numerous units of blood and blood products.
American Heart Association 50 Mile Memory Walk
Donate and walk 50 miles in February, at your convenience, for YOUR heart
and in memory of Bob: https://www.facebook.com/donate/766480465299329/
American Heart Association – (heart.org)