Robert E. Hunter, Jr |
May 23, 1922-October 1, 2013
Born in Pasadena, California to Robert and Gwendolyn Hunter. Bob, as he was known to his multiple friends, was the younger brother of Helen and Louise. He graduated from Yale University in 1945 and was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marines Corps, where he participated in the occupation of Japan after the Second World War.
Hunter began his banking career at Bankers Trust in New York City where he met his first wife, Sylvia Morton. The couple moved to San Francisco in 1949 where he became a banker at the Crocker National Bank, specializing in agricultural loans. His territory included the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii, where he had spent summers as a teenager working at the Parker Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii. He enjoyed working with his clients, many of whom became close friends, while fishing and hunting. He was also a limited partner at Brown Brothers Harriman, the investment banking firm in New York.
Bob loved the out of doors. He enjoyed hunting and fishing all over the world, including grouse hunting in Scotland, elk hunting in the dead of winter in Montana, and dove and duck hunting in Texas, Alabama, and of course his native California. He fished in Scotland, British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, and wherever there was a stream to land a fly. He would take his family on pack trips most summers throughout the west.
In his early fifties he purchased a cattle breeding ranch in Glen Ellen in the Sonoma valley, but his plan was to plant grapes and to develop it into what would become the smallest, and one of the finest champagne houses in California. With the help of his second wife Ann, a talented landscaper, the Robert Hunter Winery became a touted destination for those seeking a spectacular sparkling wine.
Bob was always a generous member of the community. He served on the boards of the San Francisco Zoological Society, the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the California Pacific Medical Center, and the Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma, to name a few. He was a lifelong member of the Bohemian Club, where in his earlier years he enjoyed performing on Thursday nights. He was also a member of the Pacific Union Club, The Burlingame Country Club, and the San Francisco Golf Club, and one of the founding partners of Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe in the 1960's.
Bob passed away peacefully at his ranch with his family by his side. He will be missed by his beloved wife, Ann, his four adult children, Ruth Hunter, Liza Hunter, Catherine Hunter, and Robert Hunter III, as well as his eight grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, his 3 stepdaughters and their children. Finally, undoubtedly he will also be missed by all those who worked for him at the winery and on the ranch over the past forty years, helping him to pursue his dream of making a fabulous champagne.