James A. Hunt, newspaper copy editor for The Baltimore Sun, NY Times and others, dies

James Anthony Hunt, a retired copy editor who worked with daily newspapers in Baltimore, Washington and New York, died of complications of diabetes Nov. 6 at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J. The former Towson resident was 70.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Gerard Hunt, a Baker Whitely steamship towing company executive, and his wife, Mildred Hoos, a homemaker.

He was a 1966 graduate of Towson High School, where he sang in the school choir and performed in musicals, including a production of “Mikado.”

He obtained a bachelor’s degree in communication from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

He became a copy editor at the Salt Lake Tribune, then returned to Baltimore and joined the editing staff at the old News American. He worked on the afternoon daily’s news desk and also handled special assignments, including the preparation of a publication commemorating the nation’s bicentennial in 1976.

“Jim was quite good with writing snappy headlines,” said Georgia Marudas, a former News American editor. “He did his job well and was always willing.”

Until the paper folded in 1986, he worked on the editorial page. He designed the page and checked stories for spelling, grammar and style.

“In an age when people question the authenticity of information, Jim was a protector of facts and truths,” said James Toedtman, a former News American editor-in-chief who lives in Savannah, Ga. “He was a fine linguist who had the ability to untangle grammar.

“In our wonderful little newsroom, he was a beacon,” said Mr. Toedtman. “He brought a dictionary and common sense to the job every day.”

Another colleague, former News American columnist E. Lee Lassiter, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Jim and admired his competence and his dedication to his family. I liked his broad range of interests outside the office, and I especially appreciated his sharp wit and sense of humor.”

Mr. Hunt worked briefly for The Washington Times before joining The Baltimore Sun in 1987. He edited copy for the paper’s features sections. In 1992 he joined The New York Times and worked on its metropolitan section.

Among the many stories he handled was the February 1993 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center, when a bomb-filled truck was detonated in a garage below its North Tower. He was assigned to edit a New York Times special section devoted to the biographies of all those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack.

He retired in 2011.

“Jim was a really sweet guy,” said William Hyder, a former colleague at The Sun who lives in Columbia. “He remembered his friends through his annual Christmas card and would always enclose something, a piece of newspaper humor, one that we copy editors would appreciate.”

As a young man, Mr. Hunt played drums in a Towson band. He played soccer and was a goalie for school teams and also for Baltimore club teams. He enjoyed watching German, Spanish and English soccer on television. He also attended World Cup games and New York Red Bulls games. He also played softball and was a theater patron.

Mr. Hunt lived for many years in the Wiltondale section of Towson.

A life celebration will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Duda-Ruck Funeral Home of Dundalk, 7922 Wise Ave.

Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Karen Di Pasquale, a former Baltimore resident and English teacher in Bergen County, N.J.; two daughters, LouAnne Boyd of Laguna Beach, Calif., and Lise Hunt of Canandaigua, N.Y.; a son, Gerard Hunt of Newville, Pa.; a sister, Janet Doty of Perry Hall; and six grandchildren. An earlier marriage to Doris Kelly ended in divorce.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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