Mary Beth Hunt

Mary Beth Hunt

Mary Beth Hunt
July 19, 1956 – September 5, 2020
Oskaloosa, Iowa | Age 64

Mary Beth Dittmer Hunt, died at the Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester, Methodist Campus, on Saturday, September 5, 2020. She was the oldest daughter of Neil and Helen Raders Dittmer. She was born on Thursday, July 19, 1956 in Davenport, Iowa. When she was one, her father graduated from St. Ambrose College and moved the young family to Southern California. Mary Beth and her sisters Ann, Lisa, and Carol were raised in the shadows of the San Bernardino Mountains in the beautiful Upland/Montclair/Alta Loma area.

Mary Beth graduated from Montclair High School in 1974. In high school, she lettered in multiple sports and was on the homecoming court and student council. She was the editor of the Glaive yearbook and a National Merit Scholar.

Mary Beth received a BA in English from Cal Poly, Pomona in 1978 and returned to her birth state to earn graduate degrees while teaching undergraduate courses at the University of Iowa. She was eventually selected as the head teaching assistant for the Rhetoric program and instructed, mentored, and evaluated other teaching fellows throughout her master’s and Ph.D. programs. In 1987, after completing her oral and written doctoral comprehensive exams, Mary Beth decided to take a year off from working on her dissertation on Jane Austen and teach high school in Lisbon, Iowa for “just one year”. Everybody knows how that turned out!

Mary Beth taught at Lisbon for many years. She was happy teaching High School English because she loved literature and teenagers. She won many grants and awards for her teaching, especially for her innovative “project approach”. She was featured as an outstanding teacher on a special report on CSPAN and was a frequent presenter at professional conferences and area in-services for various Iowa Districts. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Mary Beth coached one of the largest and most successful Iowa High School Speech Association programs in state history. Many years, Lisbon had more students qualify for All-State Speech than any school of any size. At one time, 20 of Iowa’s 100 Individual All-State performers were from her program. She was always so enormously proud of her students. In addition to teaching and coaching, Mary Beth directed Lisbon’s highly active National Honor Society. Under her leadership, the NHS annually sponsored and completed many ambitious projects such as Anti-Bullying Campaigns, a community Homeless Awareness Week which fund-raised for a local shelter, the founding of Lisbon’s Halloweentown, the purchase of an AED for the school, Spring cleanup projects, and computer education for elderly citizens to name just a few.

On March 1, 1980, Mary Beth married Douglas Thomas Hunt. He was the love of her life and soul mate. In their many years together, they enjoyed traveling across Iowa, the US and to Canada. They were nature enthusiasts and avid birders. They liked antiquing, watching sports, especially the Hawkeyes, and just being together with family, friends, and their beloved shelties. In 1997 they built their dream home in Oskaloosa and purchased a lake house where they created many memories in Longville, MN in 2016.

Mary Beth had many avocations and hobbies she pursued with enthusiasm. She was an avid birder and longtime member and treasurer of the Iowa Ornithologists Union. She loved to bake and do needlework, especially enjoying gifting her creations to friends and family. Mary Beth enjoyed collecting art and antiques. She was a member of Chief Mahaska #505 Quester Group of Oskaloosa and served terms as their secretary and president.

Of all things associated with Mary Beth, her lifelong passion for words stands out most. She loved books and teaching literature, writing, and research methods as well as working on editing projects and playing competitive Scrabble. She read several books a week, frequently in translation from the Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, Indian and most recently, Icelandic languages. If it was quality, classic, or modern literature, she probably had read it or planned to read it.

Mary Beth was a lifelong Catholic and a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oskaloosa. She served on the Parish Council, Social Justice Committee, and organized the Christmas Giving Tree.

Above all, Mary Beth loved her Doug, her family, her friends, and her shelties. She always said that she led a happy and blessed life and will always be remembered for her tireless energy, incredible integrity, and zest for life. It is so very fitting that her favorite word of all time was “luminous” because it epitomizes her so well.

Mary Beth will live on in the hearts of her loving and devoted husband of 40 years, Douglas Hunt; her sisters: Ann Dittmer, Lisa Dittmer (& Timothy) Erbstoesser, Carol Dittmer (& Gabriel) Solorio; her nephews: Eric, Neil, Mark, John, and Carsten; her loving in-laws, Bruce (& Kathie) Hunt, Ken Hunt, and Keith (& Julie) Hunt; nephew, Tyler; 3 nieces: Mackenzie Willbanks, Nicky Alderson, and Breanna Hunt; and many other family members.

Mary Beth was preceded in death by her parents, Neil and Helen Dittmer.

Mass of the Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oskaloosa with the Reverend Troy Richmond officiating.
Burial will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Oskaloosa.
According to the rules put in place by the Iowa Department of Public Health, proper social distancing and reasonable personal protective equipment is advised for attending a religious public event.
Mary Beth’s family requests everyone attending visitation and Mass to please wear a mask.
The funeral Mass will be live streamed at the funeral home’s YouTube Channel for those wishing to support the family from a distance.
Visitation will begin at 9 Monday morning at the Bates Funeral Chapel.
There will be a Rosary recited at 5:30 Monday evening in the Bates Funeral Chapel and the family will be present until 8 p.m. to greet friends and relatives.
Memorials may be made to The Mary Beth Hunt Memorial Fund and sent to Bates Funeral Chapel, PO Box 207, Oskaloosa, Iowa, 52577, to be used to support the Public Library and a scholarship fund in her name.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Mary Beth Hunt please visit the Bates Funeral Chapel Sympathy Store.

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