Barbara Lucille Dyer Hunt, age 72, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home Tuesday, August 27, 2019 surrounded by her best canine pal, Vodka. (We thought we should mention Vodka was her best canine pal.)
Barb was born on May 12, 1947 in the Chicagoland area where she grew up graduating from Main South High School. She was a championship swimmer placing first at State in several events. Barb had many swimming medals that she rarely showed anyone and was very close to qualifying for the 1968 Olympics but had her chances derailed when she broke her foot in a pool accident.
Barb worked in a clip joint downtown Chicago (she was a talented hair stylist) and was scheduled to be married when a series of events led in a new, exciting direction in Barb’s life. She had a major fight with her then fiancé and her brother asked a friend to pick her up and bring her to their family home in the Northwoods to cheer her up. That friend was Fred Hunt and the rest is, truly, history.
Barb married Fred B. Hunt on November 11, 1972 in Minocqua, Wisconsin at a no ring ceremony as Fred’s best man, his father, left the rings on the kitchen table. The ceremony continued regardless and Fred and Barb were married until 2009 when Fred preceded her in death, succumbing from cancer. After the wedding Fred gave Barb the first “family dog” Gus a boxer pup.
Barb continued as an accomplished athlete and, upon moving to Fairfield became a championship golfer. She loved to golf in family events and always tried to beat Fred’s teams. She also coached numerous Fairfield swimmers and was a constant fan at her children’s sporting events.
Barb had an incredible personality that lit up a room and was known for never holding back her thoughts. She had razor sharp wit and comments to match. She was an incredible chef and loved to make special meals for family and friends. She was a consummate hostess and always adapted to the numerous exceedingly strange acquaintances Fred would invariably bring to family events. (Most notably was the time Fred found some visiting tourists from Africa downtown and invited them to a dinner where Barb had to hold a turkey for hours in the oven as they couldn’t eat until sundown because it was Ramadan… and took it all in stride.) Her flexibility toward surprises like that and her welcoming attitude to all spoke volumes about who Barb was. She welcomed everyone into her home for food, drinks or conversation – her door was always open to anyone.
Barb had a passion for every outdoor activity. She loved fishing, hunting and, particularly, spending time on the Des Moines River. She always had time for friends and family and her dogs. After Gus, Barb was never without at least one dog. In the recent years, Barb was the neighborhood meteorologist tracking local rainfall and reporting it to all on Facebook.
Barb suffered a series of losses starting with her father Marty, a Chicago firefighter, who was killed fighting a fire in 1971. Later, but while still young, Barb cared for her mother, Eleanor, through a very difficult battle with cancer that she ultimately lost. After also losing her husband to cancer, Barb always said when it was her time she wanted to go on her own terms – and she did.
Barb was preceded in death by her parents, sister Olympia (Bunny) Sperling and brother Pat and her husband Fred. She was particularly proud she outlasted her siblings – competitive to the end.
Barb is survived by her daughters Nicole (Jeff) Hunt Vivacqua and Megan Hunt, and three grandchildren as well as her beloved Vodka (the dog…..) who has been adopted by a close friend.
The family will have a private service and there will be a Celebration of Barb’s life at the Walton Club on September 14 at 11:00 am. (The day of the Iowa / Iowa State game – one of her favorite days)
In-lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Barb’s name. Please send cards and memorials to Nicole Vivacqua, 1110 Louden Drive, Fairfield, Iowa 52556.
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