Jerome Hunsaker, 93; skier, hiker worked for decades in mutual funds

By Michele Richinick
Globe Correspondent / March 13, 2009
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Jerome C. Hunsaker Jr., an investment manager in mutual funds, died of pneumonia Feb. 14 at his home in Concord. He was 93.

Mr. Hunsaker was born in Brookline. After attending Phillips Exeter Academy, he entered Harvard, playing lacrosse as the sport advanced from club to varsity status. He graduated in 1938 with a bachelor of arts degree.

Mr. Hunsaker also earned a master of business administration degree in 1940.

During World War II, Mr. Hunsaker joined the Navy's Coast Inspection Service. During his service, he checked for fraud in Navy supply contracts. By the end of the war, he had attained the rank of lieutenant commander.

"He was so frustrated because his friends were all over the world and he was on the dockside here," said his son, Jerome Hunsaker III, of Wenham.

Mr. Hunsaker had two passions, his family said: business and skiing. He worked as principal of Colonial Management Associates in Boston for more than 30 years. He managed investment trusts, specializing in oil and gas, as well as mutual funds.

"He would take larger risks than most people would," his son said. "It seemed to pay off for both him and the company."

The company was sold to the State Mutual Life Insurance Co. when Mr. Hunsaker was 60. He continued to work at the company until he was 63, when he became self-employed and involved in private investments. Mr. Hunsaker worked on family investments and trusts at Tucker Anthony & R.L. Day in Boston. He maintained an office there until he was 85.

Mr. Hunsaker became an active member of the Ski Club Hochgebirge in Franconia, N.H., one of the oldest ski clubs in North America, during the club's early years. He was an avid skier and promoter of the sport, acting as gatekeeper at various races in New Hampshire.

During his later years, Mr. Hunsaker concentrated on traveling, skiing with friends in Switzerland each winter and mountain climbing in the Adirondacks during the summer. He was a life trustee of Boston's Museum of Science.

As teenagers, Mr. Hunsaker and his identical twin, James Peter, were the first members of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve-Ausable Club, in Saint Huberts, N.Y., to be "Adirondack 46ers," climbing all peaks over 4,000 feet.

"The 46er was an accomplishment, a physical accomplishment," his son said.

When Mr. Hunsaker's twin died in 1959 in an aerospace engineering accident, the loss devastated him but did not slow him down, his son said.

"He was always a twin; he always liked to have people around him," he said. "He didn't like being alone at all."

Mr. Hunsaker skied until he was in his mid-80s and played golf until he was 91 at the Concord Country Club and the Ausable Club.

Mr. Hunsaker enjoyed maintaining his farm in Lincoln, where he lived for about 40 years before moving to a retirement community in Concord. The Fox Ridge Farm had two dairy cows, at least 20 chickens, and an apple orchard, his son said.

"He was almost always seen with his blue denim work jacket and green hat, either behind a chainsaw or behind a tractor," his son said. "That was his hobby. He didn't have much downtime. 'Kick the feet up' wasn't really part of him."

Relatives remember Mr. Hunsaker as a risk taker and far from shy.

"He was engaging . . . and highly committed to anything that he undertook," his son said. "He was extremely generous in many ways, financially as well as [with] his time."

Besides his twin brother, Mr. Hunsaker was predeceased by his wives, Elizabeth Blake in 1986 and Alice McKennan in 2008, and his sister Sally Swope in 1995. In addition to his son, Jerome, Mr. Hunsaker leaves his daughter, Melanie Ranney of Santa Fe; his sister, Alice Bird of Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England; five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held April 2 at 11 a.m. in the First Parish Church in Lincoln.

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