Gerald Ray “Jerry” Hunt
JULY 12, 1931 — JUNE 2, 2021
Gerald Ray “Jerry” Hunt passed away peacefully on June 2, 2021, after suffering a lengthy battle of dementia at Brookdale Care Facility in Ontario, Oregon. He was 89 years old.
Jerry was born in Goff, Kansas on July 12, 1931, to Otto and Maude Hunt. A short five years later in 1936 the family moved to the Lincoln City area in Ontario, Oregon. At school age, Jerry attended the Lincoln School District for a short period of time before the family moved to work on a farm on the Oregon Slope near Ontario. The family decided after growing season to purchase a farm of their own and ventured out to purchase the family farm on Killebrew Drive in Payette, Idaho. Jerry attended and graduated high school in Payette in 1949.
After graduation Jerry moved to Lakeview, Oregon to work on a ranch for his sister and brother-in-law. Soon after he spent a short time working at the Lakeview Mill in Lakeview, Oregon area. It was in Lakeview that Jerry met and later married the love of his life, Juanita Smith on June 11, 1950 in Payette, Idaho. After a short time, they moved back to Lakeview where their first child Lonnie was born on March 3, 1951.
In 1952 they moved back to Idaho, settling in the New Plymouth area and on September 14, 1953, they would have their second child Patsy. In a few short years, Jerry and his brothers Dick and Virgil would start their land leveling business that would continue for nearly 50 years to be a successful entity in the Treasure Valley area doing major land leveling and clearing all over the valley. For a break from work, Jerry was lead singer and rhythm guitar player in a country western band called the Nitehawks with friends Delmer Alspach, Glenn Wolfe and Doug Coates. The band played all over the Valley and were well known for their gigs at everything from nightclubs to county fairs. For some time, they could even be heard on KSRV on Thursday morning recordings in the 1950’s. In the 1970s and early 1980s Jerry would add to his responsibilities by running cattle at a beautiful piece of grazing land south and east of New Meadows. Jerry and Juanita loved spending time on the ranch as he oversaw the cow business that he partnered with brother Virgil.
After selling the ranch in New Meadows, Jerry went to work for American Fine Foods as a lead Farm Ground Supervisor. Many years thereafter you would find Jerry roaming the valley in his truck overseeing land use and the farming for AFF.
Jerry was always involved in community affairs. He was a longtime member of the New Plymouth Volunteer Fire Department and the Fire Chief for several years and an active member in the NP Jaycees where one year he was voted the Outstanding District President of the Year. He spent 41 years on the Payette County Rodeo Board, of which 35 of those years as the president as well as being on the board of directors. In 1994, the Kiwanis Club named Jerry Citizen of the Year. He was a long-term member of the NP City Council as well as the appointed New Plymouth Police Commissioner, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce, serving as president in 1967. In 2000, Jerry and Juanita were voted Outstanding Citizen of the Year for Payette County for their service to the community.
There was never a dull moment in Jerry’s life, and he filled most of it with above and beyond service to his neighbors and community. He was a great husband, father, uncle, and friend to those around him. He will be surely missed by those in the New Plymouth area.
Preceding Jerry in death, his mother and father, Otto and Maude; brothers, George, Richard “Dick”, and Virgil; and his sister Marion Boehm. He is survived by his brother Russell Hunt of Nyssa, Oregon; his son, Lonnie Hunt of Payette; his daughter Patsy Hunt Shigeta (Marc) of New Plymouth; a granddaughter, Mandi Shigeta of Meridian; grandsons, Justin Shigeta (Alanna) of and Todd Shigeta (Audrey) all of New Plymouth; his great grandchildren, Vincent, Haily, and Gavin; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to offer a special thanks to Brookdale Care Facility and Heart ‘n Home Hospice for their loving care to Jerry during his extended illness.
A visitation will be held from 5pm-7pm, Thursday, June 10th at Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, 329 S. Plymouth Avenue, New Plymouth. Graveside services will be held at 2pm, Friday, June 11th at Park View Cemetery, New Plymouth with Pastor Phil Pittman officiating. Services are under the direction of Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel. Condolences may be made to Jerry’s family at www.shafferjensen.com.
Memorials to honor Jerry’s memory may be made to Heart ‘n Home Hospice or New Plymouth Senior Center, c/o Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, P.O. Box 730, Payette, Idaho 83661.