The Rev. Lawrence J. Hunt, a Jesuit priest who worked in India at hospitals and schools and later returned to Baltimore parishes, died of a respiratory ailment Tuesday at his order's residence in Roland Park. He was 81.
"He was a humble and loving priest who was a very vital part of this parish, even when he was in India," said the Rev. Christopher Whatley, pastor of St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church in Catonsville. "The parish members were delighted when he came back here to serve the last few years, and the schoolchildren, especially, cherished his sense of humor and his love for them."
Born in Baltimore County, Father Hunt attended St. Agnes Parochial School and was a 1944 graduate of Loyola High School. He entered the Jesuit order that year and was ordained by Archbishop Francis P. Keough in 1957.
In 1963, he was sent as a missionary to India. He spent 21 years there, including a time at a hospital for patients with Hanson's disease, or leprosy.
"He led with his heart," recalled the Rev. Joseph Lacey, who worked with him in India for many years. Although Father Hunt never mastered the languages in India, he found a profound way to communicate, Father Lacey said. "Every day, he would make the rounds and shake every leprosy patient's hand."
He was also principal of Loyola School in Jamshedpur, associate dean of student activities at the Xavier Labor Relations Institute in Dhanbad, superior of De Nobili School in Dhanbad and Dhanbad-Purulia District and director of the Damien Leper Welfare Centre in Dhanbad, among other assignments.
In 1984, Father Hunt returned to the United Stat
es and was dean of students at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia for a year. He then served at churches in the District of Columbia and in Dover, Del.
From 1990 to 2004, he was pastor at St. Benedict the Moor Church and Good Shepherd Mission in Winston-Salem, N.C. He then returned to Baltimore and assisted at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Church in Woodstock and at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson.
Father Hunt drove a gray Chevrolet pickup truck his parishioners gave him. He also said the radio Mass on WBAL during the past several years.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. today at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church, 30 Melvin Ave., Catonsville.
Survivors include two brothers, John Hunt of Baltimore and Richard Hunt of Rockville; a sister, Patricia Rowe of St. Michaels; and nieces and nephews.