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Paul Joseph Hunter, a Wilmington resident since1961, died on Friday, Jan. 18 after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. He was 85 years old. He was a caring and supportive husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, and for the last 30 years, Hunter dedicated himself to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Wilmington and Clinton County.
He was born in Ege, IN, on Sept. 21, 1933, to Robert and Teresa Hunter. He was raised in Mechanicsburg, OH on his family’s dairy farm. After graduation from high school, Hunter attended Ohio State University, then joined the Air Force and trained as flight engineer for KC 97 refueling tankers.
He married Erna Lackner in 1954 and they settled in Wilmington after Hunter transferred to Clinton County Air Force base in 1961, where he transitioned from active duty to working as a civilian for the Air National Guard. Hunter retired in 1986. He received many awards for his distinguished military career, including special acknowledgment from former Attorney General William Saxbe, and capped by a Pentagon ceremony in which he received a distinguished award from then President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger for developing an oxygen system for airplanes that improved safety and saved hundreds of thousands taxpayer dollars.
After retirement, Hunter volunteered his time to improving life in his adopted home town of Wilmington. In gratitude for his efforts, Mayor John Stanforth issued a proclamation marking Feb. 2, 2017 as “Paul Hunter Day.” The honor recognized his countless hours of service for the Regional Planning Committee and Public Works departments; his work with the Clerk of Council to make help make city government more efficient, accessible, and transparent;, his efforts to launch a no-cost summer feeding program to help meet the nutritional needs of students when school is out of session; and his work to help improve community parks and preserve open space.
Hunter helped establish a small nature preserve near his home in the Southridge neighborhood, which was named “Hunter Glen” in his honor.
Hunter is survived by Erna, his wife of 65 years, his four children, Teresa, Dr. Paul Joseph, Jr., Lyn, and Yvonne Johnson, his grandchildren Rachelle Thomas and Ty Johnson, great grandchildren Brook and Rio Thomas, and brother William.
Celebration of Life Services will be held at the convenience of the family at a later date. Interment will be in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. The Fisher-Edgington Funeral Home, Wilmington, has been entrusted with the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hunter Glen Nature Preserve, c/o Cardinal Land Conservancy, Inc. (P.O. Box 957, 790 Garfield Ave., Milford, OH 45150), or Community Care Hospice (1669 Rombach Ave. Wilmington, OH 45177).
Community Care Hospice
P.O. Box 123 Wilmington, OH 45177,