Posted: Sep 28, 2012 at 9:17 AM [Sep 28, 2012]
In 1935, local industrialist, philanthropist, Harry B. Earhart, decided to build a new mance on his property where Concordia University resides.
The new home was to be built directly south of the first Earhart mansion.
While on a recreational horseback ride, he stopped to talk to his nephew Laurin Hunter and his son John.
"I'll give you the house, but you'll have to move it," Mr. Earhart said directly but informally.
The challenge occurred when the house was rotated and moved laterally across a gully where it came to its final resting place on Laurin Heights, south of Geddes Road.
At one point, the moving company's cribbing, keeping the house level, raised the three-story structure 18-feet. This became John's boyhood home.
The story's final chapter belong to the ages with the passing of Jewel "Jeff" Hunter, John Hunter's widow, on Sunday, September 23, 2012.
She was born October 14, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Pauline Thomas Freeman Eakins and Conrad Freeman.
She was married to John C. Hunter for 47 years before he passed away in 1993. Mrs. Hunter, who was known as Muzzy to the younger set, graduated from Vassar College in 1946 with a major in mathematics and a minor in physics.
She came west for a visit with her classmate Angela Dobson Welch, who spoke so fondly of Ann Arbor, and she met Angela's family friend John Hunter during her visit to the city that soon became her lifetime home. She was a delightful, first class lady.
Jeff was predeceased by her parents, her loving husband and her beloved son John C. Hunter, Jr.
Mrs. Hunter is survived by her daughter Constance Hunter Belda (John), granddaughter Lauren Belda Contursi (Michael) and great-granddaughter Bella Contursi of Laguna Beach, California, her cousin Tom Thomas, with whom she was raised as his sister, and a host of wonderful friends.
A private burial service at Botsford Cemetery followed a memorial service at AA First Presbyterian Church, where she was an active member.
Late in their marriage, I interviewed John about the big house move. John was a youth when the house traversed the gully. Jeff remained in the kitchen.
However, if her husband shared a fact she felt was not accurate, her coaching wisdom came unsolicited from the kitchen into the family room.
A wonderful couple who it was my pleasure to know and love.
- Dale Leslie (2012)