Evelyn Hunter1935 - 2017
Evelyn Joan Hunter, nee Hoodlet
Evelyn Joan Hunter died unexpectedly at 5:31 p.m,
Sunday, December 17, 2017 of medical complications.
She was born at 5:00 a.m, on Friday, August 23, 1935 at
Grant Hospital in Columbus, Ohio to Nellie Joan (Slifko) Hoodlet and
John W. Hoodlet. They lived in the German Village of Columbus,
Evelyn began accordion lessons at age five. She practiced every morning
before going to school, She loved practicing. She took lessons from
Mrs. Charlotte Gamble at the Lazarus store in Columbus, Ohio. They had
an accordion band, in which Evelyn worked up to first chair, First chair
was given the piccolo parts as transcribed for accordion, as well as other
roles. Evelyn also studied with Mitzi Joyce in Columbus.
She played at Memorial Hall in Columbus and provided dinner music at
the Southern Hotel, Deschler Wallick Hotel, and for civic and fraternal
organizations, She entertained at Lockbourne airbase, and at veterans and
public hospitals. She had radio experience in Columbus, as well as
appeared on WTVN-TV.
Evelyn’s parents bought a full-sized concert Excelsior accordion for her
when she was eleven years old. It weighs 30 pounds. Her teacher
arranged many opportunities for her students to play out, She played
concerts at large auditoriums in Columbus, Evelyn remembered playing at
a hospital, going from room to room asking if the patients had a song
they would like to request. Shortly after she left one room, a nurse came
running after her and asked what Evelyn had done in the room. She had
asked what song the man would like to hear and played his choice for
him, The nurse said this was the first time the man had spoken in several
Evelyn’s father, a man with red hair and blue eyes, taught her to drive in
his Model T Ford, Her mother was a kind loving mother who worked as a
waitress at Schmidt’s Sausage House, in the German Village. Her father
worked at Columbus Hardware. During WWII they both worked in the
Curtis Wright aircraft factory in Columbus. Evelyn graduated from South
High School, Columbus in June of 1953. She studied art and business
courses, She was proud to have had four years of art. That love of art she
carried on in the theater and in many ways, such as helping her children
with school projects, and painting pictures of cartoon characters on large
boards that were displayed for many years attached to the fence that went
around the Kiddy Park near the marina and Alpena Yacht Club.
After graduating from high school, Evelyn went to a music convention in
Columbus and interviewed with all the places looking for accordion
teachers. She was offered three jobs, ones in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Flint,
Michigan, and Alpena, Michigan. She chose Alpena, because she had
never heard of it and the name intrigued her, She and her mother got into
the car of Mr. Ash, owner of a music store in Alpena, who drove them to
Alpena. They found a place for Evelyn to board at the house of Mrs. Piper,
who lived on the corner of McKinley Street and 6th Avenue. Evelyn began
teaching at the Ash School of Music, affiliated with Ash’s Music and
Radio store, As part of her job for Mr. Ash, she taught at the school in
Johannesburg, Michigan in the basement boiler room! Later she gave
private lessons at her house on 8th Avenue, Alpena.
Evelyn married Frank R. Hunter at St. Bernard’s Church, Alpena on
August 16, 1955, by Reverend Olin J. Murdick. They made their first
home at 209 Fifth Avenue, Alpena, They had a 56 year marriage. Frank
died on February 17, 2012.
Evelyn had never played a polka until she came to teach in Alpena, Her
repertoire included: Humouresque by Dvorak, Blue Danube, Dizzy
Fingers, classical music and the standards. She had an outstanding
memory for music, so she could play requests for almost any song a
person would name. She took her Alpena students to competitions in
Detroit and Chicago. She designed floats for her students to ride on in
Evelyn worked for 15 years at the Paper Works book and art supply store,
located on Second Avenue, Alpena; which was owned by Bob and Ada
Dickenson. She assisted her husband, in running Hunter Funeral Home
and in his many leadership roles in Alpena. With her husband: she helped
with the Catholic Central Band Boosters, who put on many theatrical
shows under the director of Myron David Orr starting in 1954 and
continuing into the 60’s to large audiences, often using prominent
members of the community as actors, Myron David Orr would write some
of the shows which were often variety shows. Total audiences were
estimated at 3000 in four performances each.
She was a member of the American Accordionists Association, Alpena
Yacht Club, Alpena Civic Theatre, Power Squadron, Thunder Bay Arts
Council, Besser Museum Founders Society, Moose Club, and Daughters
Among her volunteering works were: ARMC hospital volunteer in the gift
shop, Nursing Administration and Human Resources; Editor of the Jesse
Besser Museum’s Founder’s Society newsletter; Editor of the
Thunderation newsletter for the Power Squadron; accompanist/ pianist
for the Alpena Barbershop quartet singing organization for several years.
Prepared advertising and articles for Alpena Civic Theatre for many years.
None of the articles carried a byline, but many Civic Theatre articles
during the 1990’s though the 2016 season were written by Evelyn Hunter,
Evelyn’s other activities at Alpena Civic Theatre were as Director and
Assistant director to other directors, and often for Ron Ross and Carol
Witherbee. Her love of music attracted her to help with musicals like,
My Fair Lady, Annie, Seussical, Scrambled Feet, Barnum and “A” My
Name is Alice. She assistant directed plays for Michael “Chip” Laveley,
the most recent being On Borrowed Time, but also plays like The King
and I, West Side Waltz, and I Do I Do. Evelyn and her husband worked
in the box office of Alpena Civic Theatre. Evelyn’s directing included
about 7 children’s plays in summers of 1990’s, such as How to Eat Fried
Worms and Alice Through the Looking Glass. She directed, Black Comedy,
Arsenic and Old Lace, and Harvey. The last play she producer of was
Mr. Roberts, directed by Pat Jacques, with performances in January of
2017. Deep friendships were had with all the directors with whom she
She received the Alpena Civic Theatre President’s award for 2003-2004
season from Ron Ross, and the 2012-13 Season from Julie Myers. She had
been hoping and planning to work on a musical next season, and
considering a stage adaptation of the Groucho Marx movie, Duck Soup.
She was a board member Alpena Arts Council, and was a charter board
member of the Bingham Arts Academy
Evelyn is survived by her children: Mark John Hunter, Thomas R. Hunter,
Audrey J. McKimmy (Scott), and Beverly Sue Thomas (Timothy);
grandchildren, Thomas R. Hunter II, Heather Cosgrove (Tom), Nicholas
McKimmy, Dustin McKimmy, Mitchell Thomas (Brittany), and Jason
Thomas; and great grandchildren, Corbin Hunter, Trent Cosgrove and
She was predeceased by her husband, her sister, Roberta Ann Taylor,
her parents; her grandparents, Clarence Brenton Hoodlet and Hessie Dell
(Terrel) Hoodlet (Della Matson) and George and Anna (Spegar) Slifko.
Visitation will be held at Bannan Funeral Home, Thursday from 3 to 8 p.m.
Visitation will resume Friday at 10 a.m. at the funeral home, services to
begin at 11:00 a.m, Music selections will be: Ave Marie sung by Karen
Thompson, accompanied by Marvis McNeil on the organ; congregational
song, Amazing Grace; concluding song, You’ll Never Walk Alone from
Carousel, and the sendoff, There’s No Business Like Show Business from
Annie Get Your Gun. Trumpet accompaniments by Don Deadman.
Sister Mary Hughes is the officiant.
Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Thank-you to Mr. Ted Beck of Rogers City, who assisted our familySend Condolences Back to Obituaries