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updated: 4/4/2018 4:31 PM

St. Charles philanthropist Doris Hunt dies at 88

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  • Doris Hunt, known as the matriarch for one of St. Charles' most philanthropic families, died Monday at 88.

    Doris Hunt, known as the matriarch for one of St. Charles' most philanthropic families, died Monday at 88.
    Courtesy of David Hunt

  • Doris Hunt receives a standing ovation after being named the Barth Award winner in 2007. The award, bestowed by TriCity Family Services, recognizes an individual for community service in central Kane County. It is named after William D. Barth, a founder of the organization.

    Doris Hunt receives a standing ovation after being named the Barth Award winner in 2007. The award, bestowed by TriCity Family Services, recognizes an individual for community service in central Kane County. It is named after William D. Barth, a founder of the organization.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

To those who crossed paths with Doris Hunt and her husband Max, it seemed as if everything they touched turned to gold in St. Charles and surrounding communities.

The couple were responsible for launching new programs, reviving struggling organizations and fixing complaints from residents who would stop them on their daily walks, former Mayor Fred Norris recalled. They offered endless advice and assistance to their community members, he said, and they did so silently, without any fanfare or need for recognition.

Doris Hunt carried out the family's philanthropic mission even after her husband died several years ago. She died herself Monday surrounded by family at the age of 88.

Family and friends say the couple's legacy now will live on through the programs they supported and the lives they affected.

"Anything they touched, they made better with their energy and with their time," Norris said. "It was pure passion."

Both Doris and Max Hunt were past recipients of the William D. Barth Award for community service. A sculpture was constructed on the St. Charles River Corridor honoring their volunteerism.

"They're kind of a tough act to follow," said their son, David Hunt, of Wayne. "I do think they taught us all great lessons of listening and trying to do our best to help people when we can."

Doris Hunt helped establish Court Appointed Special Advocates in Kane County and was a strong supporter of the St. Charles Singers -- two of her favorite programs, she once told the Daily Herald. She was a founding member of the St. Charles Art and Music Festival and was involved in the Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice and TriCity Family Services, among other organizations, according to her obituary.

Hunt was a member of Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, a volunteer at Delnor Hospital, and active in several other arts and church programs. She and her husband also helped raise the funds for constructing the Norris campus, which now includes a sports complex, cultural arts center and St. Charles East High School.

Still, no matter how busy they became, the Hunts put family above all else, David Hunt said. His mother always took a deep interest in her children and could often be found tending to the garden outside Town House Books, David's St. Charles business.

Doris Hunt's kindness extended beyond her philanthropy, loved ones say, and she was known for sending out birthday cards and personalized notes. She had a great sense of humor that paired well with her knack for forming close relationships with nearly everyone she met, her son said.

"She kept a low profile but had a huge impact on people's lives in a quiet way," David Hunt said. "She's just a remarkable woman. It's hard to describe her. We'll miss her very much."

Hunt is survived by five children, eight grandchildren, six step-grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, her sister, and many nieces and nephews.

A visitation is 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Yurs Funeral Home, 405 E. Main St., St. Charles. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave. Burial will be private.

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