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Austin Hunt

December 29, 1925 ~ November 10, 2021 (age 95)


HUNT - To live a long life is to be blessed but to live a long and eventful life must be counted more blessed still.  Austin Hilliard Hunt was born on 29 December 1925 in his parent’s home, in the Havelock Hotel in Kagawong.  His was a good start in life.  His aunt donated the building that became the Anglican Church, and his mother told him that he had to keep it shoveled out during the winter.  He did so, diligently, to the last year of his life, at age 95.  His sense of humor also came early and stayed with him throughout the years.  When he went to sledding on a nearby hill, his grandmother accompanied him, telling him how to properly accomplish the task.  He said, “You’ll have to show me grannie”.   When she sat on the sled, he pushed her down the hill.  She screamed all the way down, to the merriment of all – save for grannie herself.  Life took a good turn in other ways as well.  He met his match, in the love of his life Mary Catherine Anita “Nite” Williamson.  Theirs was a long, tumultuous but ultimately happy marriage, followed in time by the birth of two sons, Wayne (Christine) and Michael.  Sometime later, he was blessed with two grandchildren, Quinn Nite and Austin Lyle.  His family, as well as his numerous relatives and countless friends, remembered Austin or “Ozzie” as he was known, for his kindness, his sense that life had to be lived to the fullest, and his belief that we all had to be open to adventure.   In his early years he was a talented musician as was his mother.   He formed his own jazz band and travelled far and wide with his band.  Later, he met and befriended the Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson.  “Mike” Pearson stayed at the Havelock Hotel, using it for a time as his Campaign Headquarters and having a young Austin work as his driver.  Austin became his Campaign Manager, Official Agent and Riding President as well as working out of the Office of the Prime Minister on community infrastructure projects.  He stayed true to his roots.  Following the example of his forebearers, Austin first was elected to municipal council in 1953.  He became Reeve and later Mayor, eventually becoming the longest serving elected official in the country.   For this, among other achievements, he received an Order of Canada.  But formality and awards were not the things that mattered to him.  Better to remember, as he did, those parents, grandparents, great-grandparents who went before him.  On their achievements, his achievements rested:  a belief in friendship, a love – genuine and honest – of community; and, lastly, the gift of grace and an abiding belief in the life of the spirit.  This is what he passed on to those generations who will come after him – and it is by this that they, in turn, will be able to take the measure of their own lives. He loved boating and driving.  He would appreciate the deep support and love of the community.  Our sincere thanks for all those who helped in his final days.   Predeceased by his wife Anita and brother Dr. John Hunt (Muriel). At Aus's request, cremation has taken place. There will be a celebration of life at a later date. As expressions of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to the St. John's Anglican Church or the Old Mill Heritage Centre - Billings Museum ( cheques may be sent to the Funeral Home).

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