David “Bud” E. Hunt Jr. passed away Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 peacefully at his Idyllwild home surrounded by family at the age of 92.
Bud was born Jan. 19, 1930, at the Irvine Ranch in Orange, California. His family moved to Modesto during his early school years where he attended Lathrop Elementary School. They moved again in 1945 and Bud attended Santa Ana High School and graduated in 1947.
His first job was selling newspapers at the Army base. He then went to work with the U.S. Forest Service near Pasadena at Mt. Wilson.
In the fall, he enlisted with the U.S. Air Force at Wichita Falls during the Korean War.
In 1952, he returned to his folks’ home at Camp Maranatha in Idyllwild. He soon fell in love with the mountain life and wanted to stay.
His first job on the Hill was with Joy and Alice at the Idyll-Hof in the café and bowling alley as a soda jerk. His next job was working for Mike Dunn at Forest Lumber.
He married Barbara Wilson in 1954 and they had two beautiful children: Kristi (1956) and David (1958).
While Bud was working at the lumber yard it’s been said that anytime he heard a fire siren, he’d voluntarily jump on the truck to help. Eventually, Bill Price (who was the first chief of the Idyllwild Fire District) said “Bud keeps jumping on the truck; we might as well hire him.”
Later in 1955, he became an on-call fireman and eventually joined the department full-time in 1963. In 1972, he became fire chief and retired in 1985. Those were 30 very special years of his life.
Bud was active in the Jaycees and Lions Club, and helped with the Boy Scouts. He played the bass fiddle at the Tirol with George Martinak and Mansee Kern as the Alpiners.
His love for Idyllwild never ceased. He always wanted to share it with the tourists and bike enthusiasts. Bud’s second career started when he took over the bike shop (The Bike Route on lower Pine Crest Ave.), which his son David had started in 1973. Bud started leading Saturday morning rides, which always ended with breakfast at a café (Bud’s favorite was biscuits and gravy). The Bike Route opened full-time in 1987.
Bud leaves behind his wife of 67 years, Barbara, and their son David Hunt; grandchildren Alison (Jon) Ballard, Sydney (Dan) Dang and Hayden Hunt; two sisters, Carol Hiskey and Diane Matthews; as well as numerous nephews and nieces, Johnny (Halie) Wilson, Tara Wilson, Hurley McCaghren, Jennifer Morton, Janet Woods, Scott McCaghren, Chuck and Ron Matthews, Brenda Bleu, Tammy Hunt-Smith and Todd Hunt; and sisters-in-law Teri Wilson and Bonnie Hunt.
Bud was preceded in death by his daughter Kristi Hunt and his brother Stan Hunt.
In remembrance of Bud, please treat our mountain with respect, love each other, ride your bike, be happy, and support the Idyllwild Fire Department (in lieu of flowers.)
A Celebration of Life will be held at Calvary Chapel in Mountain Center at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 12.