Janet Hunter, 86, passed away on Friday morning July 12, 2019, at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, following a year of illness.
Janet Suzannah Hunter
1933 - 2019
Janet Hunter, 86, passed away on Friday morning July 12, 2019, at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, following a year of illness. She was born in London, England in 1933, the daughter of Victor Osman Wiles and Winifred Hayward Wiles.
Her father, a Freemason, died when Janet was four-years old, qualifying her to attend the Royal Masonic School for Girls (RMS), located 30 minutes from London in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.
After World War II, she attended two years of secretarial school. She took a position working for an attorney before deciding to immigrate to the United States in 1955. She very proudly became a citizen of the United States in November, 1958 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Her first job in the United States was working in the administrative office of Kahn’s Hot Dog Company. While in Cincinnati, she met a tall, handsome U.S, Marine recruiter who was stationed in Cincinnati. Her courtship with John Hunter was brief, only three months. They were married in 1960.
John would be transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and then to Arlington, Virginia. After moving to Northern Virginia, she worked for Airways Engineering in Washington, D.C., and then became the Events & Operations Coordinator for Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts. It was at Wolf Trap where Janet and John’s love for the arts flourished.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, John attended the General Motors Institute. He became the service manager for one of the largest car dealerships in Northern Virginia, Templeton Oldsmobile. Mr. Templeton so respected and admired John’s work acumen, he transferred him to a new Toyota dealership in Raleigh, North Carolina and, finally, to Sarasota where John was promoted to General Manager of Templeton Toyota. He also oversaw the company dealership in Fort Myers.
The Hunters made the most of the Sarasota lifestyle and became active in the community. Janet joined Deane Allyn at The Sarasota Opera, managing all the special events. This led to a position at the Sarasota Ballet. Ultimately she became an events planner and organizer for many of the non-profits and arts organizations in Sarasota.
Janet and John were responsible for everything from acquiring silent auction items to checking-in guests at the events. It was not unusual to attend a gala or major event in Sarasota and find them at the welcome table.
Janet’s passion was working on events for organizations including Breast Health Sarasota, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Poodle Rescue, Circus Sarasota, La Musica International Chamber Music Festival, Sarasota Film Festival, The Perlman Music Program, Designing Women Boutique, The Hermitage, and The Red Hat Society. She planned countless fashion shows, galas and parties in the community.
As a native of England, Janet was known for sporting her “fascinator” at every Sarasota soiree. You knew immediately it was Janet Hunter calling as soon as you heard her unmistakable British accent - with that dash of North Carolina twang.
Janet and John Hunter are survived by a son, Victor Hunter of Merritt Island, Florida, and a daughter, Nancy Wagy of Toledo, Ohio. There are four surviving grandchildren: Josh Wagy, Lee Hunter, Nichole Rose and Lindsay Jones. There are six great-grandchildren: Olivia, Kaley, Johnathan Thomas, Lilly, Mia and Charlie.
Janet will be interred next to her beloved husband at Sarasota National Cemetery. The funeral will be held on Tuesday, July 16th at 12:30pm. A Celebration of Life date and location will be announced at a later time.