He was born June 11, 1937, in Kansas City, Mo., son of James Bender and Jane Murray Skerlock Hunt, who preceded him in death. He and Helen Sue Bess were married June 5, 1959, at First Baptist Church in Cape Girardeau.
Dr. Hunt attended Central High School, graduating as valedictorian in 1955. He was elected governor of Missouri Boys State in 1954 and was a guard for the state championship basketball team of that same year. He was an Eagle Scout.
He received a bachelor of science degree, graduating magna cum laude, in 1959 from Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. He received a doctorate of medicine, with Alpha Omega Alpha honors, June 10, 1963, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He completed his internship and residency in 1968 at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.
Dr. Hunt was certified by the American Board of Surgery on April 14, 1969.
In service to his country, Dr. Hunt was chief of surgery and professional services at the 27th Surgical Hospital in Chu Lai, Vietnam, from 1969 to 1970. He was promoted to the rank of major and received the Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Dr. Hunt joined the Cape Girardeau Surgical Clinic in 1970. He served as president of the Surgical Clinic many years and through his innovative leadership, the Cape Girardeau Breast Care Center was established in 1995. In July 2007, in recognition of his commitment to women's breast health, the Robert S. Hunt, M.D., Breast Care and Diagnostic Center was established in his name.
Dr. Hunt served as president of the Missouri Chapter of the American College of Surgeons from 1981 to 1983. His professional achievements include fellow of the American College of Surgeons, member of American Medical Association, Missouri State Medical Association, founding member of American Society of Breast Surgeons, and member of American Society of Breast Disease.
His life is celebrated for his exemplary and devoted service to the regional medical community for almost 40 years. Physician to tens of thousands, he has given countless hours of highly regarded service to the medical staffs at both Southeast Missouri Hospital and Saint Francis Medical Center.
He has served as president of the medical staff and chair of the Department of Surgery at Saint Francis, and as chief of the Surgery Department at Southeast Hospital. He has headed numerous other committees at both hospitals. He was instrumental in the formation of the Southeast Hospital Regional Cancer Center, chairing the cancer committee at Southeast from 1975 to 1980. Up to the time of his death, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of Southeast Missouri Hospital.
Dr. Hunt epitomized the role model of a physician and surgeon. His surgical skills were extraordinary and he held himself and those around him to the highest standard.
He took enormous pride in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren, who fondly referred to him as "Pop." He was an avid reader, traveler and loved fishing (actually, just catching). He had a fantastic sense of humor and loved to laugh, share wine with his friends and engage in friendly debates.
His greatest joy was spending time with his family, especially with his wife and best friend, "Susie." He was known for his love of family and friends, and his compassion, kindness, intelligence, integrity, humanity, perseverance, humility and patience.
Dr. Hunt is survived by his wife, Sue Bess Hunt; his children, Lynn Hunt Kosup and husband Kris of Frontenac, Mo., Dr. Steven Robert Hunt and wife Mai of Ladue, Mo.; five grandchildren, Hayden, Andrew and Jordan Hunt, Steven and Katherine Kosup; and a brother-in-law, James William Bess III and wife Jan of Oneonta, Ala.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. today at Centenary United Methodist Church.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church. Interment will be in Cape County Memorial Park.
Pallbearers will be Dr. Don Edwards, Dr. Tom Harte, Dr. Ed Noffel, Dr. Ray Ritter, Jerry Stone and Rocky Wilferth. Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Jon Foley, Dr. Frank McGinty, Dr. Ron Richmond, Dr. Joe McCadams, Dr. Ray Silliman and Dr. John Moll.
Memorial donations may be made to Centenary United Methodist Church, Southeast Missouri Hospital and Saint Francis Medical Center.
Loved by everyone who knew him, he will be remembered as a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, and an incredible friend and healer to many.
Ford and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.