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Memorial: Friends remember Myrtie Hunt

Larry Burgoon and Myrtie Hunt stand with some of the deer they harvested during a past season at Burgoon's ranch near Becida. Submitted Photo

Teacher, hunter and woman of wide interests, friends remember happy times with Myrtie Hunt.

Hunt, a former Bemidji State College physical education professor died Monday at the age of 98. Her memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Bemidji United Methodist Church, Ninth Street and Beltrami Avenue Northwest.

Ruth Howe, who also taught physical education at Bemidji State, said she met Hunt in 1959.

"Myrtie was tennis coach," Howe said. "She was hired on condition she would teach modern dance."

The problem, Howe said, was that Hunt didn't know how to dance. She had to take lesson to be able to teach the course. That was a time when college professors were assigned to classes, Howe said.

She said Hunt watched performances of Martha Graham and other troupes in the Twin Cities and became a convert to dancing.

"She could get others to perform," Howe said.

Another pastime Howe and Hunt enjoyed was grouse hunting together.

"I can't say that our hunting was very serious," Howe said.

Hunt also was a deer hunter up until two years ago, Howe said, and her driver's license was good up to 2011. However, Hunt had a stroke last December and fell. She resided at Havenwood Care Center from then until her death.

"She drove right up until that time," Howe said. "She had a bright blue pickup."

Another friend, Larry Burgoon, said Hunt joined hunting parties at his ranch every year for rifle deer season.

"She loved to hunt and just had the most positive outlook on nature and the environment," he said.

He said he had been Hunt's dance student at Bemidji State. In 1971, she called and said she didn't have a place to hunt. He invited her to his property and made sure she got her deer every year.

After she shot her first deer, he said she and the rest of the party bought her a blaze orange cap with "30-30 Myrtie" embroidered on it. Burgoon inherited that cap when Hunt's household goods were divided.

"Even in her elder years, she was great at trying new things," he said.

He said his wife, Marlys, also became a close friend of Hunt's, adopting her as a second mother.

Burgoon said one of the last times Hunt was able to leave Havenwood late last summer was when he took her on a ride around his ranch trails because she loved the beauty of the forests and countryside.

"She's somebody we'll be talking about 20 years from now," he said.