L. Hadley Hunt ’56

L. Hadley Hunt died on February 25, 2017, following surgery complications after a valiant medical fight over the last year.

Born September 10, 1934, he was son of the late Lynn Ross Hunt and Emma Ruth Hadley Hunt of Pleasant Garden, North Carolina. Hadley was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. JoAnn Padley Hunt; a daughter, Joanna Hunt Whitehouse, her husband, the Rev. Dr. Robert Whitehouse, and their sons Ross and Peter Whitehouse of Vass, North Carolina; son Lynn Padley Hunt, Lynn’s wife Lisa Michele Hunt of Chesapeake, Virginia; and son Benjamin Hadley Hunt and his close friend Tom Heimdal of Chicago, Illinois; two sisters, Mary Charlotte Hunt Kornegay and Ruth Baker Hunt Jobe, and Ruth’s husband Randall E. Jobe, all of Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, as well as many treasured nieces, nephews and cousins of the Hunt/Ross/Hadley Clans.

He earned his B. S. in music from Davidson College in 1956, where his daughter later graduated and grandson Peter is presently a junior. He was immensely proud of this Davidson legacy.

He completed his master of sacred music degree at Union Seminary in New York City in 1958, studying with many eminent theologians and musicians, including Arthur Poister. His professional career encompassed sacred music and music education.

He was in the first class of ministers of music ordained by the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Church in the 60s, served as president of the National Association of Methodist Musicians for Virginia, later becoming dean of the American Guild of Organists in Lynchburg, Virginia.

As a church organist/choirmaster, he was distinguished by his improvisation skill. Beginning at age 16, he served two churches in North Carolina: Pleasant Garden United Methodist Church and Marion First United Methodist Church.

In Virginia, he served Huntington Court United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Fort Hill United Methodist Church, Peakland United Methodist Church, and, for nearly 33 years, Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church, all in Lynchburg. Additionally, Hadley served as organist 35 years for High Holy Days services at Agudath Shalom Synagogue.

In the early 60s, he was the founding director of the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center Chorus, known for artistic performances of major choral works. This group later evolved into the Jefferson Choral Society and continues to thrive as a world-class choral organization.

He was appointed music director at the Central Virginia Training Center, where he developed an outstanding program for teaching intellectually disabled learners through music.

He and wife JoAnn, a professor at Lynchburg College, were awarded a Federal Developmental Disabilities Grant to facilitate teacher training programs, the first such collaborative effort between a state institution and a private college, dedicated to preparing teachers to use music with intellectually disabled persons.

They were featured as lecturers and clinicians both nationally and internationally, disseminating their techniques to other professionals in educational and medical fields. Hadley considered his creative work in this area as a Christian calling rather than a profession.

Following his retirement, he volunteered his musical skills in several nursing homes and retirement communities, organizing singing groups and bell choirs, and producing numerous musical programs.

In addition, he worked with the Stop Hunger Now Mission Program, helped with the Homeless Overnight Project, and contributed to the music ministry at Deep Creek United Methodist Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Most recently, he was the inaugural donor to the Anatomical Gift Program for the School of Health Sciences at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, and so will continue to serve society even in death. Hadley was known for his wit, giving spirit, and family storytelling. He will be missed greatly.

A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Burlington, North Carolina on Friday, March 3, 2017 at one p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Davidson College L. Hadley Hunt Fund (address: Davidson College, Box 7170, Davidson, North Carolina 28035).

A reception will follow in the Gathering Place at the Village at Brookwood, 1860 Brookwood Avenue, Burlington, North Carolina.

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