Jay Hunter's (1946-2009) Funeral
We went to my cousin Jay Hunter’s funeral Saturday.
A stack of the above printouts was by the sign-in book for people to take. The title on the front was “Jay Hunter, The Life and Times of a Rascal”. I like that.
Before the funeral in the family room with Jay’s body were many people. And they were mostly related. Jay grew up as the oldest of twelve children. One of his brothers, Rick, I believe, told my sister that from their parents, the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were 67 off-spring. And of a big portion of them have spouses, and of course us cousins and our spouses added up to a room full of people.
I’m sure Jay’s wife Beverly was going through a tough time. I don’t know if surrounded by that many people was good or bad for helping her get though it. All of Jay’s siblings are very positive and supportive naturally, so I’m sure she got through fine.
As we filed into the chapel we walked by the Jay’s body. I noticed the notes the children of Jay’s siblings put in with him the night before were gone. I forgot to look to see if his hat was still there.
Resting on his chest was a book by Louis L’Amour.
The service was beautiful. It had a Native American slant to it. A Native American went up front and played a big long wooden flute. Jay’s sister Patty sung Amazing Grace in the Cherokee language then led us in Amazing Grace in English. His sister Jeanne gave a reading and his brother Chuck told about his relationship through the years with Jay.
Years ago I gave Jay our Hunter pedigree. Our great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee Native American. Her name was Polly Hogshead. She married Jacob B. Trammell. She drowned in the Little Tennessee River in Macon County, North Carolina, between 1850 and 1860, while tending her fish traps.
I think their marriage worked out for both of them, other than love. Jacob got to acquire more land in the 1820s in North Carolina because he was married to a Cherokee, and later, in the 1830s, if Polly wasn’t married to a white man she would have sent on the infamous “Trail of Tears” to Oklahoma.
Jay told me he took our pedigree printouts that I gave him and visited the Cherokee Indians Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina. There they collaborated Polly Hogshead Trammell and thus validated that Jay was part Cherokee, which gave him fishing and hunting rights on Cherokee lands.
By the Native American music I think he may have taken it more seriously than just a fishing and hunting privilege.
And, two of Jay’s songs were played. Yes, Jay sung at his own funeral.
Here is a copy of the obituary copied and pasted.
Jay Hunter (James Richard Hunter, Jr.), beloved husband, son, brother, uncle and friend, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, March 23, 2009.
Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home in Marietta, Georgia.
Jay was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts on June 29, 1946. After his father's retirement from the Navy in 1951, his mother and father moved the family back to his father's hometown of Marietta. Jay attended St. Joseph Parochial School, graduated from Marietta High School in 1964, studied at Middle Georgia College, graduated from Georgia State University and earned his Masters Degree from Georgia State University in History and Political Science. During his college years, he traveled across North Georgia with his professor and fellow students, gathering songs and stories that had been handed down for generations. This collection is archived in the Library of Congress.
Jay worked as a Special Education teacher in the Atlanta school system for several years before pursuing a professional career in music. Singer, song writer, and performer. Jay's love of music began as a child and in high school he hosted a "Top 40" radio show on WFOM. Jay was blessed with a rich baritone voice and accompanied himself with acoustic guitar. His wonderful wit and wry sense of humor were evident in the clever lyrics of his songs. During his career, he played at Underground Atlanta, Rockport Music Festival, Newport Music Festival, The King and Prince on St. Simons Island, Cloisters Resort in Sea Island and Piedmont Art Festival. Most recently, to the delight of family, friends and following, he entertained at various Atlanta music venues.
Jay had many hobbies and interests. He enjoyed renovating cars and motorcycles and loved to fly, earning his private pilot's license in the 1980s. Jay also had a natural talent for painting, sketching and wood-working.
Jay was proud of his ancestry, including his mother's French-Canadian heritage and particularly embraced the culture of his Native American ancestry.
In his later years. Jay found the love of his life, Beverly Hunter (formerly Beverly Lopez), and they married in April 2006 in Helen, Georgia. Jay lived the last years of his life enjoying the company of his beloved wife and relishing his role of step-father and grandfather to Beverly's daughter, Laura Crawford, her husband Mark and their daughter Madison and to her son, Richard Lopez, his wife Jamie and their sons Eathan and Sean.
Jay was preceded in death by his father, Dick Hunter (James Richard Hunter, Sr.) former Mayor of Marietta and younger brother Frank.
He is survived by his wife, Beverly; her two children, Laura Crawford (Mark) and Richard Lopez (Jamie) and three grandchildren; Madison Crawford and Eathan and Sean Lopez; his mother, Jeannette Quintal Hunter; brothers, Don, Tom, Chuck (Nancy), Rick, Rob (Jeanne) and Ty; sisters, Rusty Stemagle (Jim), Pattie Bagley (Mark), Jeanne Hunter, and Sherry Kaskie (Ken), as well as his aunt, Ruby Hunter, 18 nieces, 16 nephews, and 19 grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home & Crematory in Marietta in charge of arrangements.