John Hale Hunt (1940-2020), who unexpectedly passed away on January 15, established his strong ties to Devine upon finishing middle school at Moye Academy in Castroville and then beginning high school at DHS.John moved to Devine to live and work on the farm of his aunt and uncle, Jean and Marvin Haass. This move was advantageous to the family because, at the young age of 5, John’s father, Glenn Hunt, passed away, leaving five children to be raised by his mother, Evelyn.
John’s daughter, Courtney Hunt Moore, shares that her dad often spoke of his life in Devine and how much fun he had living with his aunt and uncle. He often spoke of those days of “running around and getting into ‘trouble’ with his cousin, Marvin Dale.” He delighted in sharing those adventures with his family, friends, and former classmates.
John adored his aunt and uncle, stating that his Uncle Marvin was a father figure to him, and he thought his Aunt Jean “hung the moon.” Additionally, Courtney relays that her dad was raised primarily by his mother and her sisters. She shares, “I know that’s why he had such a healthy respect for women and told me throughout my life that I could do anything I set my mind to.”
Following graduation from Devine in 1959, John played basketball one year at Angelo State before transferring to Southwest Texas State University. There, John met his future wife, Leslie, to whom he was married for 56 years. They had two children, Courtney and Jeffrey, and four grandchildren. Naturally, his family meant the world to him.
Meanwhile, John’s career took him into coaching basketball, first at Burbank High School in San Antonio, then as head basketball coach at Churchill High School, and later at South San Antonio High School. Eventually, John left this career and went into pharmaceutical and orthopedic sales, a career change that enabled him to have more family time and to enjoy other sports such as hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting with his friends and his son.
Although John remained very active in the basketball community in San Antonio after he left coaching, either as mentor, administrator, or official, etc., his greatest impact to Devine folks is his work with the Devine Ex-Student/Teachers Association (DExSTA). “For over 15 years,” according to friend and board member Nancy Saathoff, “John has been the heart and soul of our board.”
Nancy adds: “John mostly liked to work behind the scenes…. He was our Go-to-Guy for tech issues, was the chair of our membership committee, and was always willing to go the extra mile to help us all out. At the Homecoming football games, he was the tall guy in the maroon shirt who enthusiastically welcomed and greeted former students and teachers in the home stands and was so happy to see all who were there to soak in the spirit of once-again being in the Warhorse Stadium together.
“One special project that was near and dear to John’s heart each year was helping the annual 50th reunion class representatives to find former classmates and help them prepare for their reunion….
“But, most of all, I [Nancy] remember him for his love and enthusiasm for our community and school and how he still ‘gave back’ through his tireless work for DExSTA for many years. Our board members will greatly miss his guidance, encouragement, and leadership…. He was our rock, anchor, mentor, friend, and a true Devine Warhorse.”
And Nancy adds thoughtfully, “In these days of people expressing their displeasure with our schools and community, John stood outas a positive advocate of what Devine’s schools and citizens have done well for so many, many years. It was always up-lifting and refreshing to hear John talk about not only the former students and teachers, but of the current DISD students, teachers, librarians, secretaries, coaches, and administrators who helped him with preparations for our annual Homecoming [events].” She adds, “As our other board members have said, ‘The meetings and Homecoming will not be the same without John.’ That is so true.”