Dr. Terry Hunt was greeted with a roomful of well-wishers holding cutouts of his face as he entered during his retirement tour of McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital March 16, a day proclaimed Dr. Terry Hunt Day in Oxford by Mayor Kate Rousmaniere. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

He’s cared for the community for 45 years. The unique event to celebrate was an emotional one.

It was something of a fun hunt as Dr. Terry Hunt made his final rounds at McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital on March 16 for his last day of work before retirement.

Instead of just hosting a reception for him after decades of medical service at the hospital, he was treated to a series of small receptions in various departments as nurses, doctors, family and friends escorted him from one department to another with clues where to go next.

One such clue was obvious when he was in a staff room in the emergency care area and was handed a large envelope typically used for x-rays. He opened the envelope and said, “Radiology.” The group then headed to that department, where he entered a room with everybody holding cutouts of his face attached to tongue depressors.

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After a joke about finding the real Dr. Hunt, he was again treated to a reception but also the reading of a proclamation by Mayor Kate Rousmaniere making the day officially “Dr. Terry Hunt Day” in Oxford.

“(A)fter 45 years of service to the community, Dr. Hunt will retire on Friday, March 16, 2018, he is most proud of the excellent in-patient care provided by the hospital as well as their outstanding nursing staff,” the proclamation reads, in part.

It noted he graduated from Miami University in 1962 and from the Ohio State University Medical School in 1966.

Stories and memories flowed during each of the stops along the hospital fun hunt.

One of the nurses told him, “You made me a better nurse. You made us make sure of the facts and get the information we needed.”

Another said he was the only doctor she ever saw shed a tear for a patient, to which he said, “Now, you’re making me cry.”

Another story involved a farmer Hunt was treating during a time of severe drought. He wrote the medical orders but the staff passed them around unable to decipher something he had written in the order. They called his office and no one there could tell what it said. The nurse said they did not want to call him about it, but finally had to do so.

“He said, ‘Pray for rain’ and hung up,” she said to a grin from him and laughter all around the room. “I did pray for it,” she added.

Hunt said medicine has changed a lot during his career but seeing long-time patients suffering from dementia is especially rough.

“When you’re a young guy and you lose ‘em, you get on with it. When you’ve known them for 40 years and you lose ‘em, it’s hard, really hard. Recently, people I’ve taken care of a long time come with dementia and I couldn’t do anything. That’s one reason I’m doing this,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to take care of people. That’s what makes it worthwhile, to get into their lives.”

Rousmaniere’s proclamation noted Hunt had completed an internship at Baptist Memorial in Tennessee, served in the U.S. Navy and done a residency in internal medicine in Akron City Hospital from 1971 to 1973.

While he and his wife, Jackie, were looking for a place to call home, he got a phone call from Dr. Gerry Buerk, who told him several Oxford people wanted to talk to him. They included Dr. Garvin McClain, who had met Hunt in the Navy in Spain and wanted him to practice here. Others were Bob Schuette and George Simonds, who knew him as a Miami student.

They located here, and he opened Oxford Internal Medicine in July of 1973.

That also started a long association with McCullough-Hyde, where he served as chief-of-staff from 1975 to 1976, was in charge of the Intensive Care Unit and conducted stress test procedures. He also served 16 years as a director on the hospital’s board of trustees, including as secretary-treasurer 1986-87 and chair from 1987-90.

“(H)is combined years of service as a trustee is the longest tenure of any board member,” the proclamation noted.

“In this hospital, you are seeing people from every walk of life,” Hunt said at his retirement tour of the hospital.

Brett Kirkpatrick, the hospital’s executive director of operations, paid tribute to Hunt’s impact on the community.

“I was not here very long when Dr. (Ellen) Buerk called and said she wanted a picnic. I pulled up and Dr. Hunt was there flipping burgers,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s important to remember what Dr. Hunt does in this community from a culture point of view. Thank you.”

Dr. and Mrs. Hunt have four daughters — Amanda Green, Amy Hunt, Elizabeth Hunt and Emily Hunt — and head into retirement looking forward to spending time with them and seven grandchildren as well as continuing to enjoy Miami University and Ohio State athletics and travel with friends.

He paid tribute to the hospital staff in thanking them for a memorable retirement tribute.

“It’s been a long ride and it’s been fun. A lot of people in this room helped me. Thanks for your help and support,” he said. “Thanks for making this hospital a place for people to come for great care.”

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