Robert LeRoy Hunt left this world to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” on April 11, 2013. He died peacefully at home with his family by his side after a brave struggle with Lyme Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
Bob, sometimes called “Mr. Trout” or “Mr. Gideon,” was known as a humble, kind man of integrity, wisdom, and faith who dedicated his life to being a fisher of trout and a fisher of men. Bob was born in Madison, WI on June 3, 1933. He grew up in McFarland. He joined the Army in 1953 and served with honors at home and in Germany. After his military service, he attended UW Madison where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Zoology. Bob worked for the Department of Natural Resources for 33 years as a biologist specializing in Trout Stream Habitat improvement. He was nationally recognized as an expert in fisheries research and received many awards, including the Wisconsin DNR Exceptional Performance Award, the National Trout Unlimited Conservation Award, the Gulf Oil Conservation Award, the TU Lifetime Humanitarian Achievement Award, the National Fisheries Hall of Excellence Award, the Starker Leopold Award for outstanding long term service in cold water fisheries, and the Steve Searns Award for Excellence in Research. He authored a book, Trout Stream Therapy, and many technical publications including one of the most widely-cited publications on stream restoration. His authoritative consultations influenced the strategic direction within the state of Wisconsin as well as nationally and internationally for trout stream habitat improvement.
He always credited his career success to the great team of colleagues with whom he felt privileged to work. Bob spent time during his retirement years enjoying the fruits of his labor as he fished the streams he and his team had helped to improve. He was most recently inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame with his brother during a ceremony last April, where he was celebrated as having “contributed more knowledge than anyone else about Wisconsin’s 10,000 miles of trout streams and advanced stewardship of them.”
He would be the first to admit that laying down all the awards in exchange for a crown of righteousness is not even a trade worth mentioning. Bob’s love of Jesus and his resulting character defined him. This was evident in his love for his family, in the kindness and respect he showed others, and in the activities he pursued. He was a small group Bible study leader and Bible study teacher for many years. He was committed to sharing the gospel throughout the world through his work with the Gideons. H
e initiated and participated in Trout Unlimited efforts to improve streams throughout WI and nationwide. He also relished opportunities to teach the art of fly fishing to many eager students. He volunteered at the local food pantry and Meals on Wheels. He enjoyed soaking in the beauty of God’s creation, fly fishing, tying flies, hunting, cross-country skiing, drawing, reading, visiting with friends and family, and eating his wife’s cookies. His life pursuit was to “Walk Worthy, Press On, and Finish Well.”
Survivors include his loving wife of over 53 years, Phyllis; his children, Lori Kilbey (Bill), Cyndy Luzinski (Craig), and David Hunt (Laura.); his grandchildren, Billy Kilbey (Beth), Jordan Kilbey (Rebecca), Jenna Bernklau (Paul), Joe Luzinski, Sarah Luzinski, Anna Luzinski, Adam Biever, Jacob Hunt, Joseph Hunt, and Madisen Hunt; and his great grandchildren, Jacob and Liliana Bernklau. He is also survived by his older siblings, Richard Hunt (Janis), and Marian Hunt as well as nieces, Nancy, Becky, Chris, and Amy. He leaves behind many dear friends and colleagues who knew when Bob Hunt talked, wise people listened. Bob was preceded in death by his sister, Dorothy Olson, nephew, Kim Hunt, and his parents, Marvin Roy Hunt and Clara Amundson Hunt.
Memorial contributions in Bob’s honor can be made to The Gideons International, Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church in Waupaca, or Trout Unlimited. Visitation will be at Holly Funeral Home in Waupaca on Friday, April 19, 2013 from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. and at Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church from 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 20 until the time of service. The funeral service on Saturday, April 20, 2013 begins at 11:00 a.m. at Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church. The Holly Funeral Home of Waupaca is assisting the family with arrangements. www.hollyfuneralhome.com