Obituary Record

Robert Cheney Hunt
Died on 6/10/2003
Buried in Blair Cemetery

#1 Enterprise 13 June 2003


Robert C. Hunt, 83

Robert C. Hunt, 83, of Blair, died Tuesday, June 10, 2003, in St. Paul, Minn., of an apparent heart attack.

Memorial services will be 10 a.m. Thursday, June 19, at First United Methodist Church in Blair.

Robert Cheney Hunt was born Oct. 31, 1919, in Fremont to Emory Clyde Hunt Sr. and Vera Katherine (Burke) Hunt. He lived in Malmo and Winnebago before moving to Blair in 1926.

He graduated from Blair High School in 1937, and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1941. Immediately upon graduation, he was commissioned in the U.A. Army. As first lieutenant, he served for two years in England during World War II.

On June 1, 1941, he married Vera Jeanette Hedelund. The couple had two daughters, Vera Gail and Robley Jean.

In 1945, Mr. Hunt joined his father and his brother, Emory C. Hunt Jr. in the Blair Telephone Company (which late became Hunt Telephone Properties.) He worked his entire life in the telephone industry. He served in numerous capacities in state and national communications-elated trade associations.

In 1974, he founded Great Plains Communications, a Nebraska company that provides 77 Nebraska communities with telephone and cable television services. Great Plains expanded into several other communications-related businesses and thrived under his leadership. He served as president until his retirement in 1986. He then served as Chairman of the Board of Great Plains Communications from 1986 until 2002.

Mr. and Mrs. Hunt lived in Blair nearly their entire lives. After his retirement, the couple enjoyed their summer and winter retreats in Park Rapids, Minn., and Tucson, Ariz.

Mr. Hunt was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Blair until he retired to Arizona, where he became a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson. He also was a member of Rotary and was Blair’s first Paul Harris Rotary Fellow.

Mr. Hunt was a philanthropist. Dana College, Memorial Community Hospital, Blair Community Schools, First United Methodist Church, the Tucson Unitarian Universalist Church, Rotary scholarships and the Salvation Army benefited greatly from his generosity. A lifelong animal lover, in 1996 he donated funds in memory of his wife, Jeanette, to construct the Blair Jeanette Hunt Animal Shelter. Just a few months ago, he established the Robert and Jeanette Hunt Community Foundation Fund to support development in the towns served by Great Plains Communications.

He is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Gail and Mick Jensen and Robley and Tim Garrigan, all of Blair; four grandchildren and their spouses; and numerous friends in communities across Nebraska, as well as in Park Rapids and Tucson.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanette, and his brother, Emory C. Hunt Jr.

#2 Printed in the OWH June 16, 2003


Hunt—Robert C., age 83, Blair. Survived by 2 daughters and sons-in-law, Gail and Mick Jensen, Robley and Tim Garrigan, all of Blair; grandchildren, Troy and Sasa Jensen, Abby Jensen, Riley and Casey Garrigan.

Memorial Services 10 am Thurs., June 19, 2003, at the First Methodist Church, Blair. No Visitation.

Campbell-Aman funeral home, Blair, NE

#3 Printed in the June 12, 2003 Omaha World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska

--by Kristi Wright, World-Herald staff writer


Robert C. Hunt, founder of Great Plains Communications in Blair, Neb., died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack in St. Paul, Minn. He was 83.

“He was definitely a hard-working businessman, but he was a scientist and an engineer, too,” said his daughter Gail Jensen of Blair.

“My sister once wrote: ‘Ask Bob Hunt what time it is and he’ll tell you how the watch works.’ That described my dad perfectly.”

He was born in Fremont, Neb., Oct. 31, 1919. The Hunt family settled in Blair in 1926, where Robert’s father, Emory Clyde Hunt, Sr., founded the Blair Telephone Co.

Robert Hunt graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1941 and was commissioned as an officer in the Army. He served in England during World War II.

After the war, he joined his father and brother, the late Emory Clyde Hunt, Jr., at the telephone company.

In 1974, Robert Hunt branched off to create Great Plains Communications. The firm, now run by sons-in-law Mick Jensen and Tim Garrigan, offers telephone and cable service to 77 communities.

Gail Jensen said her father was proud to keep the company in the family and contribute to Nebraska’s rural communities.

Among his most recent gifts included funding the Jeanette Hunt Animal Shelter in Blair in memory of his late wife, Jeanette, and the Robert and Jeanette Hunt Community Foundation Fund to support development in rural towns.

Services will be at 10 a.m. June 19 at First United Methodist Church in Blair.

Other survivors include daughter Robley Garrigan of Blair and three grandchildren.

~~~ Obituaries courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~

FindaGrave memorial #146706940

Printed in the Washington County Enterprise on 6/13/2003