Wallace Ray Hunt
August 8, 1922 – June 20, 2020
For a child of small-town Missouri, the grandson of farmers, Ray Hunt saw a good bit of the world. He was based in England during World War II and lived for 18 years in South America. He cruised the Caribbean, the Danube and Alaska’s Inside Passage. Fittingly, he spent his retirement years near an international border, in the Rio Grande Valley.
He was born Wallace Ray Hunt in Kansas City on August 8, 1922. He grew up in Sedalia, Mo., where his father, Ray, was a bank officer and insurance agent, and his mother, Vineta, a music teacher. He had a younger brother, Kenneth.
Ray graduated from Sedalia’s Smith-Cotton High School in 1940 and enrolled in the Missouri School of Mines, in Rolla, in hopes of becoming an engineer. But in 1943 he interrupted his education to join the U.S. Army Air Forces. He became the co-pilot of a B-24 in the star-crossed 492nd bomb group, which took such heavy casualties that it was called the Hard Luck Outfit. After D-Day he flew with the famed Carpetbaggers of the OSS, who delivered supplies to the French Resistance on dangerous night missions. In 2018 Ray was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the Carpetbaggers’ feats.
After completing his service Ray married Betty Ann Hulse, of Sedalia, on Valentine’s Day, 1945. He earned a business degree at SMU in Dallas, where he and Betty had two sons, David and Chris. In late 1948 Ray took a job in Caracas, Venezuela, with the Venezuelan Atlantic Refining Company. The Hunts stayed in Caracas for almost two decades, during which Ray and Betty’s daughters, Cathy and Julie, were born.
In 1968 Ray and Betty resettled in St. Joseph, Mo., where Ray worked as a comptroller and office manager and Betty as a schoolteacher. Upon retiring in 1987 they moved to Harlingen, where they were active in St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. In 2004 they relocated to John Knox Village in Weslaco. They were popular members of the JKV community, which embraced Ray as a lovable curmudgeon.
Ray passed away on June 20 after a brief illness. He was predeceased by Betty, his wife of 72 years. He is survived by his brother, four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, please contribute to the John Knox Village Legacy Fund or to Grace Episcopal Church, both of Weslaco.