By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
WHITTIER, CA (ANS – October 1, 2016) – Kenneth (Ken) Hunt, the beloved former webmaster for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), died peacefully today (October 1, 2016), in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Whitter Hospital in Southern California.
His passing was announced today on Facebook by his son, Stan Hunt, who wrote: “At 2:45 AM October 1, 2016, Kenneth Leroy Hunt, my father, drew his last breath in this world and passed peacefully in his sleep into the next. He is loved and will be missed.”
His wife, Norma I Hunt, had previously announced that Ken was in “a serious condition,” in the ICU and added, “He doesn’t seem to be making progress… Due to weak heart they are not able to do any invasive search for his infection or source of relieve for him. Thank you for your prayers.”
Before joining the ANS team as webmaster some 25 years ago, Ken had worked as a community college administrator for many years, and served for over eighteen years on the Mt. San Antonio Community College Board of Trustees. Prior to that he was a structural and mechanical designer and draftsman for seven years. Ken and his wife, Norma, resided in Hacienda Heights, California, and were members of Whittier Area Community Church (http://www.wacc.net/), where they were active members of the Senior Adults group.
“Stand and Deliver”
Ken Hunt had even worked closely with high school math teacher Jaime Escalante, who was featured in the hit movie, “Stand and Deliver,” a 1988 American drama film based on this true story and Escalante was portrayed by Edward James Olmos who received a nomination for Best Actor at the 61st Academy Awards in Hollywood. Ken once told me that when it was first announced that the movie was to be made, he had met Olmos at an event they were both attending and he suggested to Olmos that he might like to portray Jaime Escalante, which, of course, he eventually did to great acclaim.
Ken first became involved with the ASSIST News Service more than a quarter of a century years ago, when a group called Ministry Systems, Inc., headed by Don McIntosh, designed and administered our first ANS website, and then Ken became our first webmaster. He was deeply committed to his work and was for that period, our number one tipster, calling me at all hours with suggestions for news stories.
Caught in Jordan on 9/11
His most important call, however, took place on September 1, 2001, when I was in Jordan in the Middle East on a “media tour” with some 28 Christian leaders and journalists, and the attacks had just begun on the Twin Towers in New York City. My wife, Norma, picked up the phone at our home and Ken urgently told her to “turn on the television” to see what was happening in New York. He tried to encourage her, but soon, in panic, she called me at my hotel at the Dead Sea, to make sure that I was okay. Fortunately, I was able to reassure her that I, and the rest of the team, were safe, and we were being well taken care of by the Jordanian authorities. (We spent a tense week in Jordan, before we were finally allowed to fly back to New York on a Royal Jordanian Airlines flight that was packed with armed guards, and then met by FBI agents at JFK Airport.) But during that week, Ken would constantly call my wife and do all he could to encourage her during that terrible week that changed world history.
He would also regularly turn up at events I was covering in Hollywood, and would often bring along his talented daughter, Shirley Hunt, who would often do interviews and take pictures for us.
Robert Dodd, one of early Ministry Systems Inc., team still helps us with the posting of my “Front Page Radio” interviews on the ANS website (http://www.oldassistnews.net/FrontPageRadio/frontpageradio.asp).
A couple of years ago, the ASSIST Board had asked for a complete redesign of our website and we selected Greedbegone. Inc. (http://greedbegone.com/) to do the work, and sadly, it was time for Ken Hunt to retire as our webmaster. So, as a way of saying thank you, we presented Ken with a plaque in recognition of his fine work. But still, Ken was a regular caller with his wonderful tips for stories, many of which I worked on.
Ken Hunt was a real warrior for the Gospel, and someone who played a great role in the development of the ASSIST News Service. Like everyone who knew him, Ken was a wonderful person we will never forget and we honor him as he has now been “promoted to glory,” as they say in the Salvation Army. All I can say is, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25: 21) NIV.
Photo captions: 1) Ken and his wife, Norma I. Hunt. 2) A recent picture of Ken Hunt. 3) Jaime Escalante. 4) The team in Jordan on 9/11 just before the first plane hit the Twin Towers in New York. 5) Ken Hunt attending an event for ANS at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, where Brother Andrew and Pat Boone were honored. 6) Norma and Dan Wooding attending an event for ANS in Hollywood.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren, who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is the author of some 45 books, and has been a full-time journalist since 1968. While still based in London, Wooding was a senior reporter for two of Great Britain’s largest-circulation newspapers, and was also an interviewer for BBC Radio One and for LBC, the capital city’s main commercial talk station. Dan now has a weekly radio show and two TV shows all based in Southern California.
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