Richard Warren “Dick” Hunnicutt, Jr., passed away Sunday, May 10, 2020, at his residence in the Primrose Retirement Community.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Callie; their son, Richard Warren Hunnicutt, III (Mary) of San Antonio, TX; and their daughter, Linda Lee Hunnicutt-Bicknell (Jeff, deceased) of Kailua - Kona, HI. He is also survived by six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; brothers, John Michael (Renna, deceased), Stephen Anthony (Debbie); and sister, Amy Malia.
Dick was predeceased by his eldest daughter, Deborah Susan; and parents, Mary Verlene and Richard Warren Hunnicutt, Sr.
Dick was as honest as the day is long, and filled with a sense of justice and compassion. He loved traveling to all the amazing places he’d studied about and seeing this beautiful planet. He loved music, from rock and roll to symphony and had a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of music, which he endowed to all his progeny. He played the trumpet as a child, had a beautiful singing voice and was quite the hoofer, wowing everyone on the dance floor. He delighted in his children and always encouraged them to become good citizens, kind people and the best person they could be, and most importantly, to enjoy this life. The grandchildren brought so much joy and the great-grands were the frosting on his life.
He was born on March 23, 1942, in Casa Grande, AZ. If one was unfortunate enough to ask Dick of his origins, one would receive more information about his birth than thought possible, “I was born on 3//23//1942, after my poor Mother was in a very hard, long labor, at 4-something in the afternoon, Wartime…now that was before Daylight savings time…Dr. Lindberg attending…….”
He worked the family farms and met his wife in high school. Mary Callie (Martin) was a farm girl herself. They married September 12, 1959, in Tempe, AZ, and recently celebrated sixty years of marriage with friends and family. Older couples would always tease them that they were not old enough to be married so long!
As a young man, Dick excelled in academics and sports. He played varsity football and was often the fastest sprinter in Arizona. One sports writer dubbed him “small but speedy," with consistent 10 second 100 yard dashes and often 9.9 seconds.
He worked his father’s farms and attended Arizona State University, alternating 1 year work // 1 year school, then back again, while raising his young family. Dick took pride in finding courses that “counted double”, (i.e. Art History, Historical Architecture, etc.). He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (emphasis in History with a Minor in Physical Education) and did so in three years of schooling, with exactly 1//2 hour credit extra. This talent was later put to use with his own children and students. He would later obtain a Master’s Degree, in Education with emphasis in World History and Political Science, and accumulated enough hours for his PhD.
But his love of farming the earth would stay with him. His eyes never failed to tear up when seeing freshly plowed and planted fields. He boasted he could plow the straightest rows, without computer guidance. He enjoyed being involved again with farming during his later years, learning different crops and making new friends with that kindred love of growing things and working the Earth.
After initially graduating from ASU, and after his first teaching position at a high school in Sunnyslope, Arizona, he brought his family to Casper, Wyoming, and took a teaching position at East Junior High School. He primarily taught History and coached Football, Basketball and Track. He later moved to Natrona County High School teaching Government and the American Western History. He loved to receive a teaching assignment to roll out a new program. He piloted the District’s Career Education course at East Junior High School, In-School Suspension at Dean Morgan Junior High School, and helped to develop the Western Movement Course at Natrona County High School. He never lost his enthusiasm, his humor, or his professionalism. Literally hundreds of ex-students consider Mr.//Coach Hunnicutt to be the best teacher or coach they ever had. Even students who thought they didn’t like History admitted he brought the past to life for them. He retired from teaching in 1989.
But “Retirement” was short-lived for Dick, and he worked various jobs including one he loved in particular—test driving prototype performance vehicles for a major European Auto Manufacturer, incognito (a personal favorite term of Dick’s). This allowed him to “road trip” at high speed…right up his alley. Dick always loved to travel. Whether vacationing with his family or the summer jobs that paid the bills that teaching didn’t cover, or later in life, for his Senior Olympic competitions. He was ALWAYS up for a road trip…even to go tornado chasing. Any Soul who had the honor to road trip with Dick, will fondly remember, “Boy, we’re making good time!”
In the late 1990s, Dick started competing in the Senior Olympics. His favorite event was shot-put, which he had rarely tried in his youth. He competed in 17 states, and three National Tournaments over several years. He enjoyed making new friends, competing in sports, and naturally, the “road trips”. He always placed in the top ten at Nationals, and frequently placed in the top three at Regional Tournaments. Health issues forced him to stop in 2012, but he passed his shot to a young man and gave him some coaching.
Dick and Mary left Wyoming when he left teaching, but eventually returned to their favorite town, Casper, in 2000. That’s when the “Retirement” really began. His love of animals and love of humanity led to a busy life of charity work. He loved his family, his friends and animals of all kinds, and they loved him in return. Since 2012 Dick had battled chronic physical pain, his last two years brought increasing debilitation. Complications from the medications led to further problems, until his suffering finally came to an end on May 10, 2020. Always quick with a joke, or an act of kindness, he was loved by all. He will be sorely missed and is utterly irreplaceable.
Mary wishes to thank all our friends who helped make his last years enjoyable, and those in the medical profession who did their best to relieve his pain. Our Primrose “family” have been exceptional support to Dick and Mary and the Primrose staff are a godsend.
With the current Covid-19 situation we are unsure if a celebration of his life will be possible; which was his original choice. Dick felt death would solve the Great Mystery and he looked forward to it. He would want everyone to make the most of their time here. Love those close, be kind to all and forgive your enemies. This life can be too short, so don’t put off personal relationships.
If you desire and can, please consider a donation to any group feeding people during these times. Help anybody (or creature) less fortunate. Dick will be pleased.
To share a special message, please click the "Share Memories" button above.