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Rev. James Elmo Hunter III – 1935-2017

August 25, 1935 – July 30, 2017

The Rev. Dr. James Elmo Hunter III – who served as superintendent of the Spartanburg District during his 40 years of service in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church – died Sunday, July 30, 2017. He was 81.

Rev. Hunter pastored five churches and their congregations – representing small and rural, suburban, and large urban communities. His service to the conference also included the position of chaplain and professor of biblical literature at Spartanburg Methodist College, as well as many conference boards and agencies. He was elected to serve at the General Conference and the Jurisdictional Conference.

Among many other pursuits, Rev. Hunter was instrumental in developing United Ministries of Greenville, a direct service agency focused on solutions to poverty and homelessness, and the Triune Mercy Center, a non-denominational church with a mission to help the homeless and low-income people of Greenville.

Following a transfer from The Citadel, Rev. Hunter graduated from Erskine College – but he always considered The Citadel his alma mater in his heart of hearts. He earned two master’s degrees and one doctoral degree from Emory University. He also received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Claflin University, an institution he cherished dearly and supported as the chairman of its Board of Trustees for eight years.

Rev. Hunter served as Spartanburg superintendent from 1986 to 1992, when he became pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta, which he served until his retirement in 1998. He also served at Trinity UMC-Sumter (associate), Whitney UMC, Buncombe Street UMC (associate), Whitmire UMC, North Charleston UMC, and St. Matthew UMC-Greenville.

Rev. Hunter was born in West Pelzer, South Carolina, the son of James E. Hunter Jr. and Sarah Burkett Hunter. He was married to Nancy Rhodes of Estill, South Carolina, for 59 years. He is survived by Nancy; three children and their spouses: Jim & Sallie Hunter, Anne & Alex Young, and Rebecca & Greg Kryshtalowych; six grandchildren: Kemper & Leah Hunter, Lucy & Jack Young, and Andrew & James Kryshtalowych; his sister and brother-in-law, Elaine and Charles Gentry; and one nephew and two nieces: Hunter Gentry, Sally Taylor and Mary Kathryn Price.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 5, 2017, at St. Matthew United Methodist Church, Greenville. Following the service, the family will receive friends in the church parlor.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the James E. and Nancy R. Hunter Scholarship at Claflin University, in care of the Rev. Whittaker V. Middleton, vice president for advancement, Claflin University, 400 Magnolia Street, Orangeburg, SC 29115.


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