Jack C. Hunter devoted his life to helping others, those at his funeral said.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Politics was only a small part of Jack C. Hunter's life, those who honored him at his funeral say.
The only four-term Republican mayor in Youngstown's history also cared deeply about children, education issues and his community, his friends and family say. They described Hunter as a religious man who helped others grow and become better residents.
When it came to politics, those who worked with him said Hunter was honest, open and unifying.
Encouragement: Jerome F. McNally, a former city councilman, remembers Hunter's encouraging him to get into politics even though they were members of different parties.
"He steered me into the game of politics, which I never thought I'd enter," McNally said at Hunter's funeral Wednesday at Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church. "He showed me how to do it. He practically held my hand."
And once McNally was in office, Hunter never played partisan politics. That statement was supported by Herman "Pete" Starks, another longtime Democratic city councilman.
"I served under four mayors during my 22 years on council, and he was the best of them," said Starks, who was a pallbearer for Hunter. "He was a man of his word. There was no such thing as Democrats or Republicans with Jack Hunter. He was about taking care of business."
John Nagy, news director for WKBN-AM radio and Clear Channel Radio Youngstown, said Hunter was one of the Mahoning Valley's finest public servants.
"If you look at the politicians here over the past couple of years, what Jack gave us and showed us was a much-needed commodity, and he will be missed," he said.
Cause of death: Hunter, 71, died Saturday of cancer, which he discovered only a week before his death that he had.
About 125 people attended his funeral, with more than 20 people getting up to speak about the former mayor.
Hunter was elected Youngstown mayor in 1969, serving until 1977. Before that, he spent four years as 5th Ward councilman.
Hunter, the city's last Republican mayor, was a vice president of Mahoning National Bank before and after his years as mayor and also taught economics at Youngstown State University. After leaving the mayor's office, he spent 10 years on the state board of education.
Concern for children: Susan Tave Zellman, Ohio superintendent of public instruction, said Hunter was always concerned about improving the education of children.
"On any issue, he always asked, 'Is it good for the children?' " Zellman said at Hunter's funeral.
"He had the true interests of the kids in mind," added Cyrus B. Richardson Jr., the state board of education's vice president.
In addition to being civic-minded, Hunter was devoted to his family and his God, those who knew him said.
"I knew him as a patient man who taught my sister and I how to golf and play checkers and chess," said Chuck Hunter, his nephew. "People gravitated to him for his quiet confidence."