John Hunt and I were friends for more than sixty years. We were teenagers when we met as fellow workers in the large engineering company, Babcock and Wilcox Ltd of Regents Park. John was a junior draftsman and I, a junior shipping clerk.
When we were a little older we sometimes had lunch together talking as we walked, sometimes taking our Bibles and turning over the treasures of God's Word.
Promotion came - for me a little, for John, a lot. He became a senior draftsman, then a sales engineer. He was not part of the team that sold spanners and screwdrivers, he was involved in the sale of steam power for power stations, hospitals and other great institutions.
Promotion continued. He was appointed manager of the company's Queensland office where he was responsible for selling to and servicing sugar mills and other industries.
It was my privilege to share the great stages of life with John:
Motor Bikes. John was proud of his BSA side-valve model. I think mine was a similar model. I found it was considerable benefit to have an engineering friend.
Girls. There followed the stage where we talked much about particular girls, For John it was Jean; for me it was Nancy.
Marriage. We were married within a year or so of each other.
Parenthood. We became parents, John of Judith, Philip and Ann; I of Heather, Annette and Virginia. Our conversations became that of family men.
Cars. Cars superseded our interest in motor bikes. John was the first to get a car, a Renault, a small car that somehow carried all the Hunt family and, at least on one occasion, my wife as well, while I rode my motor bike like an escort. Each of us later became the owner of a Humber Hawk, and when John went to Queensland to live, in keeping with his status as manager, he drove about in a Humber Super Snipe.
Throughout our personal friendship our families intermingled. My girls called John and Jean Uncle Jack and Aunty Jean; Judith, Philip and Ann called us Uncle Ron and Aunty Nance.
There were meals in each other's homes, picnics in school holidays, an unforgettable holiday at Avoca with John's mother and Aunty Lois, and another holiday at Bribie Island in Queensland.
John Hunt, Christian Worker
At first in the Granville Methodist Church he served in leadership positions particularly as Sunday School superintendent. The history of the Granville Methodist Church could not be written without frequent commendations of John M Hunt. When he came to live at Chermside, although busy in his work for Babcock and Wilcox, he gave his time generously to serve the Chermside Church as Sunday School superintendent and in other tasks.
He was an effective lay preacher. When I was a worker pastor of the Lidcombe Baptist Church about fifty years ago I asked John to speak at our Sunday School anniversary. He arrived at the church with a bookcase under his arm and then carried in a box of books. He had put false spines on the books and named them for the books of the Bible. He showed that the Bible was not just one book but sixty-six books - complete library. He gave a short commentary on each book - the Law, the Judges and the Kings, the Psalms and the Songs, the Prophets, the Gospels, Epistles and the Revelation of John. It was an effective presentation up to the high standard he set for himself.
He did not practise as a consultant counsellor but as a compassionate friend. I am sure he must have helped many strugglers find their feet. I recall the time when I was at the crossroads trying to make up my mind which way to go, to stay in so-called secular work or to serve full-time in the Christian work. John came to my home and prayed with my wife and me. I count his friendship in that confusing time a significant factor in pointing me to the right way. My service was full-time work but so was John's as he did his daily work in a Christian way. He was known throughout the organisation as a Christian and the initials JMH on any document was a guarantee of integrity and thoroughness.
My work took me into the country, sometimes for a week or ten days at a time, speaking at church services and at home meetings. John came with me on one of those tours. We travelled widely in the south west of New South Wales and enjoyed the closest and most intimate fellowship that only best friends know. John became an honoured guest in the homes where we stayed.
Dale Carnegie dedicated his famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People to a friend he described as one who did not need to read this book. John Hunt was one of the few of whom that also can be said. He won friends and influenced people for good, naturally.
In summary, I say it all in a few words.
He was highly intelligent, bordering on genius. One of the few I have known who could be described as having a nimble mind. That ready mind was open to the Word of God and he practised what God put there.
Moreover he had an open and generous heart. Like John Wesley his heart had been strangely warmed. He was above all a Christian of deep and consistent commitment.
I will remember him with deep affection.
My friend John Hunt.