William Alfred Hunt died peacefully in Bozeman on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. Born in Whitefish, Mont. on Aug. 8, 1930 to Earl and Helen Toyryla Hunt, Bill graduated from Whitefish High School in 1948, attended Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. for one year, then transferred to Montana State College where he graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering (CE) in 1952. He went on to receive a master's degree in CE from the University of Wisconsin in 1953, the same year he was drafted into the Army for service in the Korean War. He served from 1953-1955 in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as part of a topographic survey crew stationed in Korea and Thailand.
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Upon discharge Bill returned to the renamed Montana State University and began teaching in the CE Department. On a drive with friends back to the Flathead for the 1955 Thanksgiving break, Bill met the love of his life, Marjorie Johnston of Kalispell – the start of a courtship which led to their marriage on June 16, 1956. During the early years of their marriage Bill and Marj lived briefly in Madison, Wis. – where Bill earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the UW in 1960 – before returning to Bozeman and the MSU CE department where he continued to teach, research and consult on water resources engineering, pipelines and municipal distribution systems until his retirement from full-time service in 1987. Following retirement, he continued part-time instruction in the CE Department under a professor emeritus appointment through 1991, and also served in branch manager, project manager and design engineer positions in the (then) newly opened Bozeman office of HKM Associates from 1987 to 1995. Among numerous accolades and honors, Bill received the Sigma Xi Research Award from MSU and the Stephen Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – but his greatest passion was always teaching and performing field work with his students. In addition to longstanding involvements in ASCE and the American Water Works Association, Bill also served Bozeman and Gallatin County on the Board of Adjustment and the Gallatin Valley Water District Board.
Outside of the CE profession, Bill was an avid golfer, skier and Little League baseball coach, a lifelong Bobcat Booster, and longstanding member of the Bozeman United Methodist Church. During his teen years in Whitefish he participated in the original construction of Big Mountain ski resort and was a member of the first WHS ski team. After learning to golf at Whitefish Lake Country Club, he continued to play in Bozeman as a long-time member of Valley View Golf Club, and more recently at Bridger Creek. Following their first date at a Bobcat basketball game in 1956, Bill and Marj were fixtures at every Bobcat football and basketball game over the years, and were jointly recognized as Blue and Gold Award recipients for lifetime service to the university during halftime of the 2011 Homecoming game.
Above all, Bill was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He enjoyed traveling to all corners of the United States and the world with Marj, and spent many of his days in retirement traveling to see and visit with extended family and friends. William Hunt is survived by his wife, Marjorie; daughter, Laurinda (Rick) Taylor of Wilmington, Del.; son, Kenneth (Cindi) of Simi Valley, Calif.; son, Kevin (Maria) of Hockessin, Del.; and daughter, Paula (Bob) Alexander of Arvada, Colo.; grandchildren, Lisa, Lindsay and Kevin Taylor; Jourdan and Shelby Hunt; Gabrielle Hunt; and Jacob and Carl Martillaro.
A memorial service and reception for Bill will be held on Friday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. in the United Methodist Church. Memorials can go to the William A. Hunt Civil Engineering Scholarship or the Bozeman United Methodist Church.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Sept. 6, 2012