Hunter Dean Guess, Sr (also known as Skip) of Chesapeake, VA went home to be with his Lord and Savior on February 7, 2022 at age 87 (1935-2022).
He leaves behind his wife of thirty six years, Carol Guess, and three adult children: Larry Guess (Antoinette) of Avon, NC; Hunter Guess Jr, of Wilmington, NC; Karen Bullock (Edward) of Chesterfield, VA. Predeceased is a son, Jeffrey Guess of Guam. Five adult grandchildren are Reid Guess, Tyler Guess, Sean Bullock, Angela Bullock, and Brandon Guess (Maxine). Four great grandchildren residing in Guam are Zayne, Catalaya, Zedekiah, and Zaire Guess. His loving sister, June Owens, resides in Virginia Beach, VA.
From the 1930s through the 1950s, Atlantic City was a populated residential area of downtown Norfolk, presently the site of the King’s Daughters and Sentara Norfolk Medical complex. Rows of simple single dwellings where neighbor knew neighbor line the streets which were filled with activity of growing children. This was Hunter’s home base and here he carefreely explored the banks of the Elizabeth River, swam in its waters in the summer, rummaged along railroad track attracted to any possiblity of discovery or thrill.
Anything salvaged, anything concocted, anything dangerous was his boyhood existence akin to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. In his golden years, the younger adults in Hunter’s church home group rolled with laughter as he recounted near shock level tales of his adventures before the days of safety helmets, knee guards, and twenty four hour parental supervision. This zest for outdoor freedom clung to him throughout his life knitted into the fabric of his being.
Adventures were harnessed into life lessons learned in the place he loved beyond all places – the Cofield, NC family farm. Over long summers and holidays he soaked up the lessons of farm life in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Some were tragic; many humorous; all valuable. Hitching up the mule and cart, he nuzzled next to his grandpa on their way to the country church and Sunday School. He learned about God and the Bible and accepting love. There were vegetables to be gathered, tobacco leaves to be hung, animals to be corralled, and homemade blackberry rolls to be consumed.
No attraction on the farm outshined Hunter shadowing his beloved favorite uncle – his hero – Linwood. The qualities exemplified by this oak of a man, physical strength and conquering grit, hard work, loyalty, and outlandish fun were qualities seared into a young boy’s life.
Married with four children by age twenty five, Hunter took employment with the National Heat, Frost and Asbestos Workers until retirement, working out of Norfolk’s union local #83. This union team, earning a reputation of excellence, worked on industrial projects primarily throughout the eastern United States. These ranged from the United Nations Building in New York to nuclear power plants in Delaware to the Newport News Shipyard.
The most significant crossroad of a man’s life presented itself in 1971 through an invitation made by his closest co-worker and friend. At a Full Gospel Businessmens’ Breakfast Hunter accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. His church affiliations over the pursuing years have been with Sparrow Road Congregational Church, New Life Christian Fellowship, and Hope Center Church. Within the family of faith and the greater community, he enthusiastically served people of all backgrounds, growing in his two strongest giftings: service and giving.
With New Life Christian Fellowship, his church home for seventeen years, he participated in numerous short term mission trips. Repeated trips were made to Appalachia (War, West Virginia) to refurbish a church; he served the Navajo Nation (outside Gallup, New Mexico) over three summers; and was part of a team restoring an 18th century church in Belgium. He served in Scotland, in Israel, and in Peru, traveling two days by boat down the Amazon river. Here the mission team ministered to an interior indigenous community constructing and dedicating the village’s first house of worship.
He was a man modeled in the John Wayne, WWII generation. He joined his wife, Carol, in eight years of caring for her elderly loved one in their home. He called every waitress “sweetheart” intending no offense. For his friends he was abundant with hugs and kisses – even men were not exempt. He never met a stranger.
Coins were intentionally planted in his pockets for small children to fish out. Dollars were given to older children. Twenty dollar bills were quietly passed into the palms of young ministers just starting out who he admired. BB guns were gifted to ten year old boys. Boots well chosen for the Amazon trip and admired by a village worker quietly changed ownership. Chick-fil-A sandwiches found their way to Saturday evening worship intended for a teenage brother in Christ. In boyish conspiratorial manner, he weekly purchased a candy bar in the church foyer for himself and told the teens gathering around him, “Don’t tell Carol.” He then proceeded to treat them as well. Socks, shirts, pocket knives – a bevy of merchandise passed throught his hands.
Hunter was strong and vital through his mid 70s. He cleared land, single-handily dismantled an 1880s barn, cut acres of grass and planted every forsaken shrub and plant 90% off at Lowes garden center – just to see if it could thrive with his special green thumb touch.
A motorcycle accident in 2012 depleted his stamina. He recovered beautifully, to the amazement of medical specialists; however, within several years, balance became an issue. In January 2017 a diagnosis of Lewy Body was confirmed. Of the three forms of Parkinson’s, this is the most ravaging. At first a slow decline and progressively more rapid he became a prisoner in his own body. First with a walker and then in a wheel chair, the grand effort to safely get him outside just to sit and enjoy the nature he loved, had to be relinquished.
Remaining in his home and requiring twenty four hour care, he and Carol walked this road together for over five years.
His 87th birthday was on Friday, February 4, 2022. He enjoyed some TV and birthday cake. The weekend was a sleepy one. He and Carol spoke in the wee hours of Monday morning about angels surrounding him to which he replied “that’s good”. Patting Carol’s hand saying “thanks”, he fell asleep again.
Early Monday afternoon his petition of recent months was answered. He slept his way into the arms of Jesus.
Anyone having known Hunter has stories to tell – some sweet – some funny – and some of those “what were you thinking of” memories. While his presence is missed, his family knows where he is. For the covenant believer in Christ, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2nd Corinthians 5:8).
Details regarding a local Celebration of Life may be announced for a future date. A private internment will be held at the North Carolina farm. In lieu of flowers contributions may be given to endeavors dear to his heart – saving the lives of babies and blessing the nation of Israel and Jewish people worldwide. Below are the list of organizations.
Focusonthefamily.com 1-800-232-6459 specify Operation Ultrasound
CBN.com 1-800-700-7000 specify CBN Israel
jewishvoice.org 1-800-299-9374 Jewish Voice Ministries International
Please leave a memory or word of condolence with the family.