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9 April, 2009

Ready for the Journey Home

We kept hoping and pretending and denying, but it’s too late for that now, folks. The truth is our intrepid leader is stepping down as cancer takes its toll. My own heart breaks as I watch this once jolly, wise and wonderful man slip inevitably away from us into a world even he doesn’t understand.

Although his vital signs are still quite good, he is unable to get out of bed and is confused and disoriented. It’s apparent that he has mentally packed his bags, and waits impatiently for the homeward-bound train.

That is the bittersweet part of it: his faith was and is strong. We who are left will miss him, but he knows he is going home, to a place where he’ll once again be with the people he loves: his wife Tommy, his parents, others who have gone on. To the place he has remembered with nostalgia since the day he was born — his real home.

But that’s not the end of Jack D. Hunter, folks. As long as there is someone alive who remembers him, as long as his books continue to sell (as they still do, both used and new), and as long as the movie The Blue Max is still being shown, Jack Hunter will be with us. It’s a rich legacy.

I have known since the day I first spoke with him that he is a very special kind of man: a caring, loving man who always seemed to have the right word, the right insight, to guide people gently in the way they should go. I’ve known that, but I had no idea his influence was so widespread. Since his illness, I have been getting e-mails from people all over the world saying the same thing: “he changed my life with just a phrase;” “I owe my life to Jack Hunter.” As one friend put it, “He was always free in giving some of his rich, incredible life to those who needed it.”

So let’s not spend too much time mourning, my friends. Instead, rejoice with me that we had the great good fortune to know him, to sit at his feet and learn, to groan over the awful puns, to grimace or grin at the way he twisted the English language to his own purposes. He changed an awful lot of lives, and we’ll never know just how many. To have known him was to love him.

I will continue to monitor the e-mail address given on his website, so feel free to write and tell me what Jack Hunter means to you. I’ll post them there so everyone can share the joy and wisdom, and I’ll be posting occasional updates on his condition.

Let’s keep him alive in our hearts, because that’s where he really lives.


* * *

The family specifically asked me to post this addendum, over my objections. To have worked with him and known him is reward enough for me, but here ’tis, as ordered:

A Note from the Family:

The family of Mr. Hunter would like to express our deep gratitude — first, to you, his faithful readers and friends, and second, to Ms. Jonni Anderson, his talented executive assistant. Ms. Anderson’s tireless efforts, artistic skill, and business expertise enabled Mr. Hunter to maintain his many endeavors through the last days of his illness. To you all, we extend our heartfelt thanks!

Copyright © 2008 - 2009 by Jack D. Hunter.  All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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