Thomas Aasa Hunt, 71, of Boise, a former Baker City resident, died Nov. 1, 2005, after suffering from cancer for a brief period.
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His funeral was at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4, 2005, at the Shamrock and McMillan Road Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Interment was at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery with full military honors.
Tom was born on May 29, 1934, at Baker City to Thomas Clarence and Marie Aasa Hunt. He married Mariam Colleen Boley on Sept. 17, 1954, at the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
They recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. They are the parents of four children, Mariam (deceased), Anna Marie, Thomas and Barry.
Tom was always a hard worker. He began delivering newspapers at a very young age. As a teenager, he worked in the lumber yards of Baker City and for the U.S. Forest Service.
Tom was an accomplished pianist and had perfect pitch. In 1952, as delegate to Boys State from Oregon, he performed the musical number “Bumble Boogie” to a standing ovation.
Tom loved athletics. He was a multi-sport star for Baker High School and received scholarship offers in basketball and football.
He graduated from Brigham University at Provo, Utah, in 1956 with a degree in accounting. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force through the ROTC program at BYU.
He entered the Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Tom had a diversified career in the Air Force, with about 6,000 flying hours. Among the agencies he flew for were the Strategic Air Command, NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission.
Tom served as a test pilot for the Boeing plant at Seattle, Wash., where he accepted new aircraft for the military. He also helped in the development of the AWACS system.
In 1965-66, Tom served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam, where he flew C-123 aircraft. He also served his country in Thailand in 1975, where he commanded the SCATBACK Squadron. He helped evacuate the Vietnamese premier and other dignitaries.
He flew one of the last missions into Cambodia to help evacuate military personnel before the borders closed. This was a risky mission that other pilots declined.
During the Apollo 11 lunar mission in 1969, Tom’s aircraft relayed messages from the astronauts to the Earth. In his 20 years in the Air Force, Tom was stationed at eight bases, where he flew at least 11 different types of aircraft. He was very patriotic and had a deep love for his country.
After retiring from the Air Force, Tom pursued a lifelong dream and began an 18-year career as a stock and commodity broker with Merrill-Lynch in Boise. He especially enjoyed his associations with his fellow Merrill-Lynch brokers and his many valued clients.
After retiring from Merrill-Lynch, Tom learned the highly specialized art of building fly rods with his friend, Ken Smith. During President George W. Bush’s most recent visit to Idaho, the last custom fly rod constructed by Tom and Ken was presented to the president by Sen. Mike Crapo and the Idaho delegation, as a gift from the state. Tom enjoyed many hours testing his fly rods on the South Fork.
As an active and faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Tom served in many different capacities. Among his many callings, he enjoyed his time as a temple worker, Elder’s Quorum president, High Priest group leader and ward membership clerk. He also served as the LDS group leader while in Thailand. Working with the LDS servicemen was a very rewarding experience for him.
He thoroughly enjoyed his retirement years, especially spending time with his family. He never missed a sporting event or school activity involving his grandchildren. He particularly looked forward to his golf outings with his grandson, Mark.
He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. His family loved him dearly.
“He could be counted on in any situation and has left a void in our hearts that will never be filled,” family members said.
Survivors include his wife, Colleen; children and their spouses, Anna Marie and Darryl Neider, Thomas B. and Jan Hunt and Barry C. and Jessica Hunt; grandchildren, Natalie and Mark Neider, Dallas, Cole and Samuel Hunt and Mariella and Christian Hunt; brothers, Jim, John and Robert Hunt; and sisters, Jeanette Hindman, Barbara Beck and Marie Hines.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant daughter, Mariam; infant grandson, Thomas Boyd Neider; brother, Richard Hunt; and sister, Kathryn Hunt.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, November 4, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor