Leonard Merle Hunter
November 25, 1939 – March 28, 2019
MY DAD by Sherry Ticknor Leonard Merle Hunter was called home to Jesus on Thursday, March 28, 2019. He was born in Randle, Wash., on November 25, 1939, to Myron and Florence (Mohler) Hunter. He attended school and graduated in Randle. His daily routine when he was growing up consisted of doing chores before and after school and going to school during the day. After graduation he moved out on his own, and found work planting trees in Grays Harbor County, Wash. and the Mt. Hood area. He did this until he caught a bad case of the flu, and decided to go into the Navy. He attended boot camp in San Diego and afterward, was formally enlisted in Seattle. He went on a couple of cruises on the WWII Carrier, USS HANCOCK, and then got orders to go to school in Florida. He met his first wife Betty in Florida in 1962, and married her soon after they began dating. Dad adopted Betty’s daughter, Sarah, and they became a family. Shortly after they were married, Betty got pregnant. She had morning sickness all the way from Florida to California, and I was born in 1963. Dad was able to come home for my birth in La Moore, California. My Aunt Vera June helped my mom with me for a while after I was born so that he could get back on duty. In 1964, dad was part of a bomb squadron and attack group, and worked in Nevada at a test bombing range. Dad had the opportunity to see President Kennedy in China Lake. He was on his first cruise aboard the USS ARISKONY at the time that President Kennedy was shot. They were in Japan and came back to the states for training again. As dad told me; you were either in combat or training all the time. When he was in San Diego on deployment, they got word that North Vietnam had taken a run on Ticonderoga. That is what started the Vietnam War. They came back to shore, picked up their gear, and headed out. They sailed around the South China Sea for about ten months, and then he got orders to go to instructor school in Memphis, Tenn. After this, he went to Virginia, picked up data on aircraft, and came back to Whidbey Island. He taught AS Armament systems, remaining there until he was honorably discharged in 1967. A friend of his asked me ‘What is your dad going to be now that he is not a sailor???’ I replied ‘Nothing.’ We moved from La Moore, Ca., to Florida. Dad found work at Skeeter’s Dairy driving a milk truck. It was very difficult finding work. Dad got word that his mother was having heart trouble, so we moved to Chehalis, Wash. One memory I have when we were traveling from Florida to Washington is when we passed through Wyoming. There were a lot of fields and sage brush. My dad asked me ‘what do you see out there?’ I said ‘Nothing.’ When we began our journey across the states, my sister and I were supposed to bring one toy because there was limited room to bring everything we owned to move in our car. Well, we did bring one toy that my parents saw. We got half way across the states and had a flat tire. It was then that they had to unpack the car enough to get a spare tire out and found my 3’ tall doll that was my favorite doll and my big Texaco truck my sister hid for me. We didn’t get in trouble. Once we got to Chehalis, dad found work in the area as an electrician at Moduline Industries. He also worked for a trailer manufacturer in Olympia. Later, dad worked at Centralia Plywood until it shut down. After that, he worked at Cascade Hardwood as a millwright until he retired at age 62. While working at Cascade Hardwood in 1986, dad was in a terrible industrial accident, resulting in the loss of one arm. My mom, Betty, died in 1982 of a heart attack. He met his second wife, Kathy, later that year and the two were married until Jesus called her home in February of this year. Dad and Kathy homesteaded in Winlock, Wash., in 1987. Dad built a fence around the perimeter of the property. He planted a big garden, built the front porch and steps for their home, and built the pump house and carport. Dad and Kathy attended First Christian Church since about 1990. They got baptized there, and remained as members. Dad liked to fish, hunt and camp in his earlier years. He taught me how to tie a hook, how to shoot a gun, and how to build a campfire. He taught me about the different kinds of trees in the woods and the different leaves they had. “Don’t touch that one; it will bite” it was a stinging nettle. He taught me how to ride a bike and drive a car. He taught me how to hammer a nail and how to change the oil in my car. Dad also liked to BBQ. He made a mean BBQ salmon, and even had a special home-made BBQ sauce recipe. I used to tell his fish stories for him. I would stretch my arms out as far as I could reach and say, “he caught a fish this big”. The most memorable memories of my dad in his later years was going to lunch with him and Kathy to Judy’s Country Kitchen, and sitting down at their dining room table and having a cup of coffee with them. Occasionally we would get to see the deer in their yard. Dad will be welcomed in heaven by his first wife, Betty, who passed in 1982; his second wife, Kathy, who passed in 2019; his daughter, Sarah Otto; granddaughter, Heidi Otto; his parents; brothers, Myron Max, Dallas, and Clifford; and sisters, Threesa Salzer and Marie Hunter. He is remembered fondly by his daughter, Sherry (Brian) Ticknor; step-son, Brian (Shannon) Buchanan; grandchildren, Brad Ticknor and John Otto; sister, Vera (Alan)Piercy; son in law, Raymond Otto; and many more extended family members, including his church family and friends. A memorial service with military honors will be held at 2 PM on Sunday, April 14, at Chehalis Christian Church, 111 NW Prindle St, Chehalis. The service will be followed by refreshments in the church library.
- Memorial Service Sunday, April 14, 2019
Leonard Merle Hunter
April 11, 2019
I have such great memories of uncle Leonard, but one in particular; while Doug and I were still in the Air Force we came home once when him and aunt Betty were still living in town. He had such beautiful roses planted all the way around his yard. He was very doting. You could tell he enjoyed working with them. They were perfect. He took shears with us as we walked around the yard and he cut a rose from almost every bush and gave them to me as a bouquet. It was breathtaking. I think of him often when I see roses. I don’t think I have ever been able to come close to growing a rose garden like his. But I did tried. When I think of that day I think of the song “In the Garden”. “🎼 I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses..🌹❤️ .” I will miss him but I know I will get to see him again in Glory.
April 9, 2019
I have such great memories of uncle Leonard but one in particular-while Doug and I were still in the Air Force we came home once when him and aunt Betty we’re still living in town. He had such beautiful roses planted all the way around his yard. He was very doting. You could tell he enjoyed working with them. They were perfect. He took shears with us as we walked around the yard and he cut a rose from almost every bush and gave them to me as a bouquet. It was breath taking. I think of him often when I see roses. I don’t think I have ever been able to come close to growing a rose garden like his. But I did tried. When I think of that day I think of the song “In the Garden”. “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses...” I will miss him but I know I will get to see him again in Glory.