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Jim Hunt, former president of Grant J. Hunt Co. and PMA, dies at 94

Grant J. (Jim) Hunt Jr., the former president of Oakland, CA-based distribution firm Grant J. Hunt Co. and a former president of the Produce Marketing Association, died at the age of 94.Jim-Hunt

Mr. Hunt graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in agricultural economics in 1943. He joined Grant J. Hunt Co. in 1946 after his rehabilitation from wounds received in battle during World War II during the Battle of the Bulge in France and took the helm of the company in 1949 after the sudden death of the company founder, Grant J. Hunt Sr. He served as company president for decades until his retirement in 1992.

Mr. Hunt spent many hours outside of his career pursuing volunteer work, particularly in areas working with youth. He served as Scoutmaster for many years with the Boy Scouts of America and was a member of the board of directors of Piedmont Council. He was awarded the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts for positively impacting the lives of youths that he led.

Mr. Hunt served on many board positions of the Produce Marketing Association, including leading the association as president in 1981. His model of service to PMA carried through to his son, Grant M. Hunt, who served as PMA chairman in 1999. To date, they are the only father-son duo to ever serve in the board president/chairman capacity. Under Mr. Hunt's leadership, PMA's three divisions (retail, foodservice and floral) developed policies to enhance the growth of the industry, particularly meant to attract youth to the produce industry, which was his passion.

"Jim Hunt had already completed his term as chairman of the PMA board when I joined the association in 1983," said Bryan Silbermann, who recently retired as chief executive officer of PMA. "Nonetheless, he took the time to school me in the workings of our industry and the lessons he had learned throughout his career. Jim's unselfish service to the industry he loved is one reason I was so pleased to visit him just weeks ago at his home, where he reminisced so lucidly on shared experiences. Like his son Grant, another PMA chairman of the board, Jim understood so well the mutual benefit that flows from leadership service to others across an industry."

Mr. Hunt was also known for his efforts with other Bay Area leaders to eradicate corruption involving the unloading of produce trucks at wholesale markets in Northern California in the late 1970s.

Mr. Hunt was very active with St. Helena Catholic Church, serving on the parish council and the school board. He also volunteered with many of the youth activities continuing his passion for developing youth talents.

A mass of Christian Burial is planned for April 5 at St. Helena Catholic Church in St. Helena, CA.

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