PRATT — William Paul “Bill” Hunter, 63, of Pratt died unexpectedly on Friday, July 15, 2016.
He was born Oct. 18, 1952, in Parsons to Paul W. and Helen R. Hunter. He graduated from Labette County High School in Altamont and was a proud Wildcat, graduating from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture with a teaching certification. He also earned master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Bill devoted his life to training the next generations of farmers who will feed the world. He was a high school agriculture instructor at Burlingame and Westmoreland and at Salisbury, Missouri. He also was an ag economics curriculum specialist for the Vocational Agriculture Service at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He taught at Pratt Community College 23 years as an agriculture instructor and formerly was department chair of agriculture and technology education at the college.
He was a leader in regional and national professional organizations, including serving as Region II vice president and chair of the Diversity Committee of the National Association of Agricultural Educators and as an NAAE consultant to the national FFA Board of Directors. He also was a past president of the Kansas FFA Association Executive Board. He received honorary state FFA degrees from the Kansas and Illinois FFA associations and an honorary American FFA degree.
He threw himself into any and all activities that would give his students hands-on experience or professional opportunities. He was the longtime adviser to the PCC Block & Bridle Club and took great pride in the success of his students in national Block & Bridle, ag business management and Quiz Bowl competitions.
Affectionately known as “Doc” by friends in Pratt, he was an active member of his church and civic organizations in Pratt and the region. He was a deacon, Sunday school teacher, moderator, choir member and soloist at First Southern Baptist Church.
He was president of the Sunflower Resource Conservation and Development Area and former secretary of the Kansas Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils. He also was a member of the Governor’s Kansas Water Quality Task Force and the Red Hills Regional Advisory Committee.
He was past president of the Pratt Optimist Club, a member of the Pratt Veterans Memorial Lake Improvement Committee and the Kansas Farm Bureau, and played trombone in the PCC Beaver Jam Pep Band.
Bill was a Renaissance man who loved music and theater, devoured mysteries, thrillers and sci-fi novels, smoked mounds of beef brisket, devoted countless hours to tracking down family genealogy, was an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and regaled friends and families with long, meandering stories.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his four brothers and sisters, Kay (Hunter) McNeil and her husband, Jack, of Taylor, Texas, Bob Hunter and his wife, Alynn Jackson, of Overland Park, Carol Hunter and her husband, Tom Perry, of Des Moines, Iowa, and Barry Hunter and his wife, Jayne, of Fort Smith, Arkansas. He also is survived by eight nieces and nephews, Jack Hunter and his wife, Jessica, of Seattle, Marlene Simes and her husband, Les, of rural Ottawa, Emily Hunter of Guildford, England, Gene McNeil of Taylor, Quin Jackson of Golden, Colorado, and Erin, Landon and Jenna Hunter of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Five great-nieces and nephews also survive him.
The service was on Monday at First Southern Baptist Church, Pratt, with Steve Taylor, pastor, officiating. Burial and a graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Spring Hill Cemetery, Pratt Road, south of Parsons, with Kevin Weaver, pastor, officiating. Visitation was on Sunday at Larrison Mortuary, 300 Country Club Road, Pratt.
In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to Center Bethel Church, 1699 18000 Road, Parsons, KS, 67357.