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Published: Sunday, 7/21/2002

Ex-salesman aided mentally retarded

GREEN SPRINGS, Ohio - Bruce Hunt, a former salesman who began a company that provides home care for adults who are mentally retarded or developmentally disabled, died Thursday in his home near here from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was 49.

He had the condition, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, for 18 months, his wife, Kathy, said.

His first symptoms were slurred speech. Later, he lost his speech and his mobility. But he was able to keep up with his business by using a laptop computer designed to operate through eye movement.

“He was really strong, and he did very little complaining. He was everybody else's strength, really,” Mrs. Hunt said.

Mr. Hunt was president of Wynn-Reeth, Inc., of Green Springs, which with a staff of 65 provides home care in Ottawa, Sandusky, and Seneca counties for 55 adults who have a developmental disability or are retarded.

“Bruce had so much integrity, and he was such a good father. I think those are real important skills in this business,” his wife said. “He enjoyed helping folks live as independently as they can.”

The couple were co-owners of Elmwood Assisted Living in Fremont and Elmwood at the Shawhan in Tiffin.

He began Wynn-Reeth in the early 1990s. He was a sales representative for 18 years of Continental Baking Co., the then-parent company of Wonder Bread and other products. Mr. Hunt was reared in Clyde, the son of Retha and Winfred L. Hunt, Jr., and was a 1971 graduate of Clyde High School.

He and his wife married Aug. 22, 1993, about four months after he proposed to her as a knight in shining armor. “He rented a suit of armor, and he took riding lessons on a horse for three weeks [beforehand],” his wife recalled. “He showed up at my office with trumpet fanfare and got off his white horse and asked me to marry him.”

He was a member of Christ's Church, Tiffin, and was a pilot.

Surviving are his wife, Kathy; sons, Aaron and Jarrod Hunt; stepson, Andrew Luhring; stepdaughter, Amanda Luhring; sister, Nancy Hacker, and three grandchildren. The body will be in the Engle-Young Mortuary, Green Springs, after 2 p.m. today. Memorial services will be private.

The family requests tributes to the Bruce Hunt Foundation, of Green Springs, which his wife founded to help support research into a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease.

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