John Hunt, born in 1933 to Leigh and Jean Hunt (nee Faulkner), was the eldest of three sons. John graduated from Prince of Wales High School in 1951 and then attended the University of British Columbia where he studied sciences and was awarded Big Block Awards in athletics for both rugby and football, an achievement not often matched. John followed his father into a career in medicine, and 2 years before he graduated in 1958 he married his high school sweetheart, Bev. Their journey together would span 52 years.
During his teenage years, John spent summers logging in Kitimat and Harrison Lake; these experiences gave him a taste of rural living, and after medical school John and Bev moved to Williams Lake where John spent 3 years in general practice. John was an enthusiastic hunter and angler in his adolescence, but his love of the outdoors flourished in the Cariboo. Even after returning to Vancouver in 1963 to pursue a career in orthopaedics, John’s ties to the Cariboo remained strong, including regular hunting and fishing trips with family and friends. John introduced his brothers Brian and David to the Cariboo and they continue this tradition every September with the next generation. John’s enthusiasm and ability to introduce new experiences to those around him was a unique gift.
To say John’s residency was a rite of passage is an understatement. John, Bev, and the four kids spent 1 year in London, Ontario. This was a year characterized by personal and professional challenges that ultimately cemented John’s decision to be a community physician whose approach to teaching was based on respect and humility and not authority and disparagement. In 1969 John and Bev moved to Coquitlam where John began a highly successful career that lasted 30 years. John had a passion for amateur athletics and volunteered much of his time as a team physician.
His career included many professional highlights, such as being president of the BC Surgical Society; however, at his retirement John said his finest accomplishment was his marriage to Bev and the raising of their four children. John and Bev retired to Gabriola Island in 1997, a place of good friends and terrific memories, where John could enjoy golfing and fishing at his leisure and visit with his eight grandchildren.
John lived life to the fullest. Moments were not squandered, and few could keep up with his zest for activities. John was happiest in the outdoors fishing and hunting, but he also enjoyed golfing, tennis, skiing, and playing hockey. Unfortunately, John developed diabetes and 7 years ago began dialysis for associated renal failure. Although John was slowed by his illness he approached it the same way as he did everything else, with courage and gusto. We all thought John feared death, but in the end it was life that he loved, and when life became inadequate he knew it was time to move onto the next adventure. He will be fondly remembered by those who knew him professionally but even more so by those who knew him as a family man, friend, and outdoorsman.
—Harold G. Hunt, MD