Stillwater News Press


June 30, 2014

Francis Hodge Hunt

Francis Hodge Hunt “Papa Joe” passed on to be with the Lord on June 29, 2014.

He was born on a farm in Byers, Texas, on March 31, 1930, the son of Eunice B. Hunt, a homemaker and James Duncan Hunt, a farmer and a disabled World War I veteran.  He was a star athlete in high school lettering in four sports, baseball, football, boxing and track. As a boxer, he won the Texas middle weight Golden Gloves title.  

Although recruited out of high school to play football, he enlisted in the Army during the Korean Conflict, and continued to achieve success in his boxing career winning the All Army Championship.  

After receiving an honorable discharge for his military service, he went to work for Public Service Co., of Oklahoma as a lineman and continued this career for the next 40 years.  He retired as the assistant line superintendent for the city of Stillwater in 1993.

Francis and wife Jan were owner/breeders of Black Jack Meadows where they bred their Mammoth Black Jack “Preacher” with their jennets as well as others.  Following retirement, Papa Joe continued to pursue his passion for the mountains along with his appetite for fun and adventure.  Always the avid Mule Skinner, he and his wife Jan, enjoyed countless trail riding trips to New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona, with his preferred mount being one of his mules.  He also pursued his passion for mountain climbing summiting several 14,000 foot peaks.  He had a wonderful singing voice and continued to sing and play country and gospel music throughout his life.  Possessing a strong spiritual curiosity, during his lifetime, he was a Baptist Preacher, 32nd Degree Mason and later in life pursued studies in Buddhism and yoga.  In 1974, he married his soulmate and the love of his life, Janis Branch Ragsdale.   

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Janis Branch Hunt and son Mark Ragsdale; daughter, Kai Hunt Dare and husband Gary of Springdale,  Ark.;  son, Terry Hunt and wife Joyce of Stillwater; son, Pat Hunt of El Reno; son, Hal Hunt and wife Cheryl of Owasso.  He is also survived by seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, Rob James and wife Melanie of Owasso and their sons Noah and Luke; Courtney Hunt Foreman and husband Nathan of San Francisco and their sons Corbin and Holden; Caleb Hunt of Kansas City; Caitlin Hunt Nance and husband Justin of Kansas City and son Jadyn; Casey Hunt of Guthrie; and Paul and Matthew Hunt of Owasso.  He is also survived by countless extended family and loving friends.  A private farewell service for the family will be held.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Stillwater at 1710 South Main, Stillwater, OK 74074.

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