John B. Hunt was called home to Heaven by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the afternoon of Sunday, April 25th, 2021. He was 85 years old.
John was the middle child of Reverend Everett N. Hunt and Teacher Emma Burtis Hunt. He was preceded in death by his brother Everett Hunt and his sister Margaret Hunt. In his early life, he was determined to be anything but a Preacher or a Teacher. But, it was also during those youthful years that John accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord. Even before he graduated High School in 1955, John joined the NJ National Guard. At the age of 23, he was called to active duty with the US Army where he rose through the ranks to Sergeant (E5). He served with an artillery unit in Germany during the early years of the cold war. His strengths were radio operator, cryptology and instructor. Upon his honorable discharge in early January 1962, he accepted a position in Stratford, NJ teaching Industrial Arts, Drafting, Wood Shop and Driver’s Education. Without a Bachelor’s Degree, he was issued a temporary teaching certificate based on life experience provisioned on attending college to obtain his permanent teaching certificate. He received his BA from Trenton State College after eight years of night school.
John first met his future wife while transporting students from a local nursing school who would be performing a program at his church. One of those young nursing students, a girl named Dottie, caught his eye and his heart. Both had a love for the Lord and desired to live according to what was taught in His Word. This August would have marked their 59th Anniversary. They married August 17, 1962 and God blessed them with five children; Pamela, Pattie, Penny, Philip, and one named Peter who was taken to Heaven before he was born.
During those years in Stratford when John and his family worshiped at Laurel Hill Bible Church, he deeply studied God’s Word and grew closer to Jesus. He served as both the Choir Director and as an Elder. He led Bible studies for the students in the High School where he taught. He became a very active member of the Gideon’s, passing out Scripture to travelers and others.
It was during this time of study and serving that he felt a tugging on his heart to do the one thing he never wanted to do as a young child. He felt God calling him to be a Pastor and to teach His Word full time. So in 1976, at the age of 41, he packed up his family and moved to Texas to attend Dallas Theological Seminary where he spent the next four years studying to be what God called him to do.
As graduation from DTS approached, God was orchestrating the encounter between John and what would become his life-long place of Pastoral ministry. Sometime earlier, Lebanon Valley Bible Church went on a short-term mission trip to serve in a Columbian village. A young missionary to that village, feeling called to seminary, also went to DTS. It was this classmate who connected John with LVBC. John and Dottie visited Pennsylvania in the spring of 1980, John graduated in May with a Masters in Theology and was called as the Associate Pastor to LVBC in August 1980.
As John dove deeper into God’s Word, his love for it grew. He served on the board of Handivangelism for eight years, a service organization with a mission to share the gospel with those who are disabled, grieving, or facing other life challenges. One of his true ministry loves was Navigators, built on Colossians 2:7 “Rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Year after year, John taught the Nav students how to memorize Scripture, give their testimony and challenged each one to do so. John knew and experienced the change and growth a person goes through when they spend time in God’s Word. He was constantly memorizing portions of Scripture.
John’s skills with the radio earned him an Amateur Radio License (Ham Radio) and membership with the Lebanon Valley Society of Radio Amateurs. His call sign was W3IMJ; short for “I am John.” He used these skills to minister to others during Middle Creek Search & Rescue Operations where he served as chaplain. John also loved carpentry and woodworking and became quite an artisan over the years.
The one thing that drove John to his knees in prayer was a love for people and especially their souls. He wanted them to know Jesus. And John knew the best way to get there was through relationships, evangelism and discipleship. His love of hunting and fishing fit perfectly with the LVBC’s Sportsman’s Banquet where you could invite your friends to not only hear and learn about hunting and fishing but also to hear about what Jesus can do to cover the sin stain on your heart; that stain which prevents you from getting into Heaven. John also knew the answers to life’s problems and decisions were found in God’s Word and he wanted others to trust in those answers as he did.
John was observant to the needs of LVBC and was the founder of several ministries. One he especially enjoyed was the College and Career Class. He provided opportunities for these young adults to minister to others by having them join him in a Prison Ministry to Woodside Detention Center.
John always believed that you don't retire from a calling. He served his Lord Jesus as Associate Pastor at Lebanon Valley Bible Church through the end of 2018, a total of 38 years. After a year sabbatical, he answered the call to return to the ministry, serving on the Elder Board. His mark will be on LVBC for a very long time.
It was only days after John was last at LVBC, still serving as usual, that he fell ill. Just hours before he passed, he quoted 2 Timothy 4:6-8 to his family: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
John’s body was laid to rest, with military honors, at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville in a private family ceremony. His soul and spirit have already taken up residence in Heaven. A “Celebration of Life” service will be held at 3:00 pm on June 13, 2021 at: Lebanon Valley Bible Church, 1482 Horseshoe Pike, Lebanon, PA 17042.
John leaves behind his wife of 58 years, Dottie, their four children and their spouses; Pamela and Jay Long, Pattie and Pete Miller, Penny and John McCormick, Philip Hunt, and nine grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that you consider supporting Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607 or www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/christian-charity/
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