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JAMES CAMMETT LUNT

HALLOWELL -- James Cammett Lunt, first son of Paul Cammett and Helen Thompson Lunt, born May 4, 1920, in South Portland, passed away Feb. 15, 2013.

Jim attended South Portland schools and graduated from Bowdoin College in the class of 1942, where he was a proud member and steward of Zeta Psi fraternity. He later earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan. He was a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II, serving as a flight instructor in PBYs -- flying boats -- at Corpus Christi, Texas. There he met his wife, the former Martha Lydecker. They were married for 14 years.

Jim was a kind and generous man, and delightfully curious about everything and everyone. He kept up with all the details of friends' and family's education, career and travel experiences. He made learning a hobby and inspired others to do so as well. It is no surprise that Jim chose Hallowell as his community, for its intellectual and artistic lifestyle. There he lived for more than 50 years, serving as a city councilor from 1995 to 2003 (where he played the crusty curmudgeon role to perfection). He lived independently in town in a second-story walk-up apartment with his beloved cat, driving, during daylight hours only, until the final week of his life. He could be found every Thursday and Friday at his favorite watering holes, socializing, listening to live music (even though "deaf as a post") and generally having a great time -- with his two half-strength drinks. He had a longstanding love affair with the theater, having been active both in front of and behind the curtain at the Lyric Theatre in South Portland, the Theatre at Monmouth, and in earlier days, the Brunswick Summer Music Theatre. He was a strong supporter of Old Hallowell Day and The Gaslight Theatre. His "Nuts and Boats" advertisement was a staple in their programs. Everyone in Hallowell knew and loved "Jim's Nuts."

Jim was charming and generally surrounded by ladies. He arrived at his 80th birthday party at The Wharf in a limo filled with eight beauties for his eight decades, and a ninth to grow on. Jim had a strong cadre of men friends, as well, and thoroughly enjoyed his fishing trips in earlier days.

He had a great fund of stories and didn't require much prompting to tell them. Sadly, he predated YouTube. One hasn't really lived without seeing him after a couple of drinks at a party, perform the notorious "pant dance." Jim was a confirmed intellectual. He was a voracious reader, James Cammett Lunt, primarily of history books, and a lifelong learner. He lived with a family in Costa Rica learning Spanish, and in his later years, studied French (participating in exchange trips to Quebec), Japanese, Arabic and Russian. He was politically engaged, a passionate liberal Democrat who cared deeply about all people and a just society.

He was employed for many years in the Maine State Department of Human Services, active in the IT division. He was in demand as a presenter and instructor in various states as they moved into the information age. He had worked in various accounting positions for employers as varied as Commercial Welding in South Portland, Scarborough Downs and Maine Medical Center; and he was still substitute-teaching at Cony High School at age 80.

He was a bit of a Renaissance man, a great giver of creative gifts, a loving father and grandfather, and friend. He will be missed.

Jim is survived by his two children, Anne, of Augusta, and her son, Luke, and wife Jennifer; and Stephen, and wife Kathie Leonard, of Auburn, and children Sarah Lunt, daughters Michaela, of Portland, and Megan Blanton, of North Carolina, Courteney Corvalan, husband Hugo, children Nicolay and Zoe, of New York City, Lynne Hermann, of San Francisco, Calif., and Colin Leonard, of Atlanta, Ga. He was predeceased by his parents and elder sister, Elizabeth DuPont. In addition to his children and grandchildren, he is survived by sisters Ruth Duff and Margaret (Peg) Carmichael (Richard), and brother Benjamin, all of South Portland; brother Richard (Beverly) of Venice, Fla., and Chelmsford, Mass.; and numerous nieces and nephews (all of whom were his favorites). Special mention must be made of the way Ben; his late wife, Marion; and their children, Terry, Holly and Danny, became a second family for Jim and his children, in the years following his divorce.

Interment will be at the Maine Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Augusta. Services will be private. All are invited to a celebration of Jim's life to be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at Joyce's Restaurant, 192 Water St., Hallowell. The family wishes to thank the wonderful caregivers in the emergency room and CCU at MaineGeneral Medical Center. You could not have been more skillful nor kinder. In lieu of flowers a donation to The Family Violence Project, P.O. Box 304, Augusta, ME 04330; or to a would have pleased Jim.


Published in Kennebec Journal on Feb. 20, 2013
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