Noted California speed flier Frank Hunt dies

Editor's note: Frank Hunt of Merced, Calif., was a speed flier well known to Northwest modelers. He often attended the Northwest Regionals, and hosted speed contests in Merced that many Northwest fliers attended. The following information was distributed by Scott Jackson, one of the California speed fliers.

By Scott Jackson

Frank W. Hunt III was born August 6, 1951, to Dr. and Mrs. Frank Hunt, Jr., the second of three siblings. Born in Elk City, OK, he grew up and attended school there until he moved to California with his mother and sisters in 1968. Frank graduated from Merced High School in 1969, an attended Merced College for two years before transferring to Cal Poly, but in 1972, he returned to begin negotiations with Harold Herb to buy Herb's Cyclery, where he had worked since 1965. Upon Herb's retirement Frank became sole owner. Although the original shop site was sold to the city and razed, Frank kept the name and moved Herb's Cyclery to several locations in Merced.

Frank's work with bicycles extended to auto cross racing and bicycle motor cross racing. He helped begin the bicycle motor cross in this area, encouraging all ages to compete. His yellow camper truck could be seen at the races almost every session in Merced or Atwater. Because of his deteriorating health from severe diabetes and kidney failure, he did not attend races, but nevertheless kept his bike shop down on 17th street open every day without fail. His bicycle mechanical skills will be greatly missed.His great love was building and flying control line model airplanes. Beginning with a metal block of 4 or 5 X 2 inches, he would create an engine. With those engines and planes, he competed in national speed races, winning many times. Frank holds the national B speed record and won the Proto Speed Championship over 17 times, more than any other participant. This year Frank won the Robert Vetter Memorial Trophy for Overall Speed Champion.

Frank is survived by his mother Mrs. B.J. Hunt, 2 sisters, Mary Frances Hunt of Oklahoma City, OK, and Mrs. Julie Baker and her husband William Baker of Hanford, CA, and a niece Haley Baker. Frank's step family include stepmother Mrs. Nola Hunt, Elk City, OK, step sister Mrs. Mitzie Smith and her husband Waylon Smith of Marlow, OK, and stepbrother Rusty Hunt of Elk City, OK.

Dear Frank, we love you and we miss you, but it is time to let you rest until we meet again. All things are possible through God. We send our love to all of you in the many places that he touched.

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This page was upated Aug. 30, 2009