Mary J. Hunt (née Mary Hamilton Johnson), 103, of River Forest, has died. A lifelong resident of Oak Park and River Forest, she was born Aug. 6, 1915 to Margaret H. and Chester C. Johnson. She grew up on Forest Avenue in Oak Park, two blocks from the home of her maternal grandparents, Mary S. and Henry R. Hamilton, who served as Oak Park village president from 1907-1909. She spent many summers of her youth at the Hamilton summer home, “Glen Carrie,” in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, with her extended family and maintained lifelong friendships with her cousins that began there and in Oak Park.
Her maternal ancestors were among the early families who settled in Chicago. Her great-great-grandfather, Richard J. Hamilton, was a lawyer and judge who also established the first public school in Chicago in 1832. Her grandfather, Henry R. Hamilton, authored The Epic of Chicago, in 1932, detailing the early history of the city.
Her father was born in Portland, Maine, where her Johnson ancestors lived for many generations, since pre-Revolutionary days. She had fond memories of trips to Maine in her childhood to visit her relatives.
She graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School in 1933 and from Stanford University in 1937, majoring in English.
In 1941, she married Lawrence H. Hunt (Laurie) at her parents’ home in Oak Park, a 64-year union that ended with his death in 2005. Due to her husband’s service in the Navy during World War II, she and Laurie briefly lived near Washington D.C., then returned to the Chicago area and became residents of River Forest where they raised a family of seven children.
She enjoyed the many cultural offerings of Chicago and regularly attended performances of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and events at the Art Institute. As a member of the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations (now CC of Global Affairs), she attended events and kept up to date on world affairs. Among her treasured memories were those from her trips to England and Europe with her college friends and her family.
She and Laurie enjoyed gardening and landscaping and together they maintained a beautiful large yard used for hosting summer gatherings and winter ice skating for the enjoyment of the neighborhood children. Throughout her life she enjoyed summer trips to northern Michigan with her family, and in retirement, she and Laurie spent time in Carefree, Arizona. She enjoyed tennis and golf, played the piano and loved to read, fostering her children’s interests in music and learning.
A lifelong member of First United Church of Oak Park, she volunteered as a member of Circle 25 of the Infant Welfare Society. They were members of the River Forest Tennis Club since 1942, and the Oak Park Country Club.
Memories of her sense of adventure, humor and style and her spirit will always be cherished by her family.
Mary was the wife of the late Lawrence Halley Hunt; the mother of Thomas (Laurie), Margaret Campbell, David, Elizabeth (Francis), James (Christie), the late Lawrence Jr. (the late Katherine), and the late Douglas (Holly); grandmother of Christopher, Caroline (Jon), Laura (Jordan), Darwin (Lindsey), Brian, David, James, Katherine, Thomas, Katelyn and Anne; great-grandmother of six; sister of the late Hamilton (the late Jane) Johnson; aunt of many nieces and nephews; and the cousin and friend of many.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 2:30 p.m. at First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake St., Oak Park.
In lieu of flowers, suggestions for memorials are the Hunt Family Memorial Scholarship, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T) Foundation, 306 E. Saint Joseph, Ste. 200, Rapid City SD 57701 or First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake St., Oak Park, IL 60302.