The Virginian Pilot
June 25, 2016
J. Michael Hunter, age 66, of Norfolk, Virginia, passed away peacefully after a long illness on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. He is the son of the late Vincent Martin and Helen Parker Hunter of Norfolk, VA.
The focus of his life after God was his children and Elizabeth Anderson (AKA Mrs. Hunter) his wife of 32 years, and best friend for 40 years, who survive him. He lives on in their children,
Margaret (Margie) E. Hunter and her fiancé Ian McNeilly, E. O'Neill Hunter and her husband Charles (Chuck) Reichert and their daughter Andersen E. Reichert, Mary-Gallagher Hunter, John (Jack) Michael Hunter, and dear family friend Corey T. Maxey.
J. Michael was a successful screen actor and vested member of the SAG/AFTRA Guilds for 36 years playing featured, co-starring, or supporting roles in more than 150 television movies and feature films (not to mention his commercial and voice over work). J. Michael was a character actor and consequently his roles have been as varied as a co-starring role in a movie to... "Don't get up for popcorn or you'll miss the scene". He has appeared in feature films as diverse as David Lynch's 'Blue Velvet', to Disney's '1st Kid', also, soap opera, episodic TV dramas, TV movies, small independent films and industrials. His stage background is just as extensive. To mention a few, he has starred in Neal Simon plays in dinner theater. He played 'Hamlet'. He directed, produced and starred in a play for the Edinburgh Arts Festival in Scotland. He directed, and produced several documentary films including Waking Up With Jack and WWJ Journey II concerning the days in the life of Down Syndrome.
His education spans from intensive training and apprentice ships in acting, to earning a terminal degree in 2008. He attended Holy Trinity parochial school, and he graduated from Norfolk Catholic High School in 1969. He attended the Actor's Equity Apprentice program, Virginia Commonwealth University, Performance Theatre Arts, University of Edinburgh Performance Theatre Arts, Edinburgh Scotland, and Lee Strasburg's Actor's Studio, Hollywood CA
He earned a bachelor's degree from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA where he joined the Golden Key National Honors Society. He attended Regent University film school Producers Tract, Virginia Beach VA where he earned a Master of Fine Art in Film and Television Production. He was honored with the 2008 Outstanding Student Award. He was beginning the process toward his PhD while working as an adjunct professor in film and television production when he became ill.
J. Michael's experiences in the area of children with special needs and education took talents into the realm of teachers and their students. He presented his theory that teachers are actors too, by conducting interactive workshops designed to help teachers pull out their acting skills to reach learners at all levels. J. Michael's acting skills help teachers to creatively differentiate learning in their classrooms. He would actively engage conference participants in the importance of role- playing and its valuable influence on learners on all levels.
J. Michael Hunter was a devoted Roman Catholic, husband, father, and grandfather; prior to his illness he was a passionate actor, church Lector, leader, mentor, youth ministry leader, and Life Teen leader. He taught confirmation classes, and he was an educator and a student. Everyone looked up to him and liked him very much. He took recent joy in reminiscing about these roles with his family.
He has shared his worldview in 2009 with us as follows:
"My worldview is the shared worldview I have with the mother of my children, my partner in life, my partner in all that I do, Elizabeth. The "I me", has turned to the "we our", because that is how we live our lives. Our world is messy, and imperfect, there are a lot of loose ends, things are not perfect, we get hurt, we laugh, and we get mad at each other and at our children. But, we always make up; we apologize and get along with what we have to do. Our lives are full and rich with the stuff of life. We offer up our day every morning with a prayer as we cross over a bridge on our way to Christ the King Parish." The prayer goes like this:
Dear God, I offer you my day, everything I say, everything I think, and everything that I do, because You're in me, and I'm in You, Amen". "Lord guide my stumbling feet, keep them on the path of honesty and truth, fill my heart with love and help me to give it as freely as You do, let my eyes see beyond the surface to look for the good in everyone, and please Lord if at times I don't live up to your expectations continue to Bless me with Your love, Amen".
J. Michael's wishes are that there will be no memorial wake or funeral. The family is planning a funeral mass in the future for his burial. In the meantime, if you would like memorialize him, he asked that donations be made in his name to:
St. Stephen Martyr Roman Catholic Church-attention Father Brian Rafferty www.ssmrcc.org
The American Heart Association www.heart.org
Alzheimer's Association www.alz.org
Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads www.dsahr.org
Autism Society of Tidewater www.tidewaterasa.org
H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Norfolk Chapel is handling arrangements and online condolences may be offered to the family at hdoliver.com. –
HUNTER, J. Michael
Born: 1950, U.S.A.
Died: 6/21/2016, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.
J. Michael Hunter’s westerns – actor:
Ironclads (TV) – 1991 – Lieutenant Simms
O Pioneers (TV) – 1992 – Barney Flynn