Featured News, SWBTS

Retired Hebrew, Old Testament Professor Harry Hunt dies at 76

Retired Hebrew, Old Testament Professor Harry Hunt dies at 76

Alex Sibley
| Jan 21, 2021

Harry B. Hunt Jr., professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1976-2002, died on Jan. 19. He was 76. 

“Southwestern Seminary offers its condolences to the Hunt family, as well as our gratitude for Dr. Hunt’s service on Seminary Hill,” said President Adam W. Greenway. “I encourage all Southwesterners to join me in prayer for the family during this time of loss.”

Hunt was born on July 16, 1944, in Marshall, Texas, to Harry Bass Hunt Sr. and Annie Beverly Ross Hunt. He completed his Bachelor of Science at Stephen F. Austin University in 1966 and proceeded to earn three degrees from Southwestern Seminary—Master of Divinity (1968), Doctor of Theology (1972), and Doctor of Philosophy (1978). 

Hunt's Th.D. graduation, Dec. 14, 1972. From left to right: Jesse J. Northcutt, Harry Hunt, Robert E. Naylor, Robert A. Baker.

Prior to graduating college, Hunt married Patricia Lou Blackwell on Jan. 23, 1965, at Central Baptist Church in Carthage, Texas. From 1966-1971, Hunt pastored Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Texas. This was followed by a second pastorate at Friendship Baptist Church in Gladewater, Texas, from 1971-1973. 

Hunt then began his career in academia. He served as associate professor of religion at Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri, from 1973-1976, and then transitioned to Southwestern Seminary to teach Old Testament and Semitic languages, which he did for the next 26 years, retiring in 2002. 

Following his death, many former students and colleagues expressed their appreciation for Hunt’s years of service. Multiple individuals reflected on Hunt’s 7 a.m. Old Testament Survey course, many of whom took this as their first-ever seminary class, with Hunt as their first-ever professor. 

Dr. Hunt in a Southwestern Seminary classroom during the 1980s.

Jerry Carlisle, a two-time graduate of Southwestern Seminary (M.Div., 1983; D.Min., 1990), wrote on Facebook, “God used Harry to bring me to Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri, from Huntsville, Alabama, when I was 17—hiring me to work in the In Service Training Department. I became the assistant director the next year as he transitioned to Southwestern Seminary; the following two years, I was responsible for the office. He challenged me in my B.A. and M.Div., then served as my faculty advisor in my doctoral work. Brilliant with a heart for God and a love for the church, he took the time to invest in knuckleheads like me. I am eternally grateful.”

Research Professor of Theology Malcolm B. Yarnell III, a faculty colleague of Hunt before his retirement, recalled on Twitter that “Dr. Hunt advised me as a young faculty member and bequeathed me my first office on campus.”

Scott Collins, a 1992 M.Div. graduate and former director of public relations at Southwestern, wrote, “Harry used to stop by my office every morning at 6:30 on his way to his 7 a.m. class. He became a good friend, and I continued seeing him when he moved to a Buckner community. He had a great heart, sweet smile, and a mind to match both.” Hunt was a resident at a senior living community sponsored by Buckner International, of which Collins serves as vice president of communications.

Hunt is survived by his wife of 56 years, Pat; son, Doug Hunt and wife Chanthy; daughter, Amy Cunha and husband Russ; and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Elvin Webster Hunt.

A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at Restland Memorial Park. The service will be livestreamed on the Jimerson-Lipsey Funeral Home Facebook page. Hunt will lie in state at Jimerson-Lipsey Funeral Home from 2-5 p.m. on Friday.