James M. Hunyor, a boxer in East Toledo in the late 1930s and retired crane operator at the former Libbey-Owens-Ford, died yesterday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township, of complications from a stroke, his family said. He was 90.
Mr. Hunyor, formerly of Northwood, suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to swallow, his son Bill, said.
Mr. Hunyor grew up in the Birmingham neighborhood during the Great Depression, dropping out of Waite High School after the ninth grade to help put food on the table, his son said.
His father had died, and his mother struggled to bring up five children alone. When he wasn't picking up odd jobs in the neighborhood, he and his late brother, Louie, boxed.
He was known around town as Jimmy Haines and competed as a lightweight.
Although he gave up boxing to join the U.S. Navy Reserves, he kept a speed bag and a small version of a boxing ring in his basement for his children.
He served in the Pacific Theater with the Navy during World War II, and his family said that age at 21 he became the branch's youngest chief petty officer.
He married his wife, Emma Jane, after he was discharged in 1946.
They had been married 61 years when she died in 2008.
Mr. Hunyor was known to family and friends as a jokester.
For Halloween, he would don an elaborate homemade costume every year and drive to his friends' houses, until his health no longer allowed him to do so. He would dress as a woman, a space alien, and a werewolf, his family recounted.
"He'd be the guy that in the middle of the winter would decide to take a picture in the middle of the snow in his swimming suit," his son said. "He was like a big kid."
For the two years he lived in Orchard Villa nursing center in Oregon, he delighted in playing tricks on the staff with an "earthquake in a can" and laser pointer he kept in his room, his daughter, Kathy Eckhart, said.
Surviving are his sons, James, William, and Richard, daughters, Kathleen Eckhart and Cynthia Toth, 11 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be tomorrow from 2 to 9 p.m. at Freck Funeral Chapel in Oregon, with services there at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Burial will be in St. Ignatius Cemetery.
The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.