Lynn and Valerie Hunter, long-time residents of Page, celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on June 30.
They were introduced by mutual friends in 1968 and started as friends. Their friendship grew through their high school years.
“Lynn took me to my first day of high school along with a group of friends. He was a senior,” Valerie said. “I (was) a sophomore. We dated off and on along with other people before getting together in 1970 after he graduated.”
Opposites really do attract in their case. Lynn, a life-long avid hunter and outdoorsman, and Valerie, who enjoys plant-based cooking and the arts, managed to create a fulfilling life together.
Lynn and Valerie lived in Huntington Beach, California, before moving to Page.
“When we were living in Huntington Beach, I was involved with saving the Bolsa Chica Marsh and Lynn was a member in a four-wheel drive club,” Valerie said.
“We got the two groups together to do a marsh cleanup, most significantly, using the jeeps to pull out an abandoned oil drum during low tide. That darn drum had been there forever. Through that experience, I learned the value of partnerships and bringing opposing groups together – kind of like our marriage.”
Blending their opposite interests has widened the views for each of them and their children.
They moved to Page in 1980 when Lynn got a job with the Bureau of Reclamation.
As Valerie recalls, “That’s when the real adventure began.”
For the first three years, they owned and operated Mesa Plumbing Service until they sold the company, which later became Marquis Plumbing.
There were many adjustments to be made after moving from a metropolitan community – with lots of traffic, opportunities and chaos – to the small, isolated town of Page.
Lynn worked at the Bureau of Reclamation for 31 years and retired as the supervisor of operations.
During his tenure at Glen Canyon Dam, Lynn earned the American Achievement Award in Strathmore's Who's Who Worldwide as an individual who has, according to Strathmore, “made a difference in the lives of others” for his expertise in the power generation industry. He is a member of the Shriners and is also a Mason.
Lynn, while not mentioned by name, was the Bureau of Reclamation operator in Kevin Fedarko’s book “The Emerald Mile” who first discovered that the original Glen Canyon Dam spillways were collapsing.
On a trip to visit their son Chad, who was working at Crater Lake National Park at the time, Lynn was in a bookstore in Bend, Oregon, where the book was available. When store patrons learned that he was a character in the book, many asked him to sign their copies.
While working at the bureau, Lynn served as the Upper Colorado Region zebra and quagga mussel coordinator when the mussels were first a concern for Lake Powell. He was able to have a billboard erected in Bitter Springs, Arizona, warning boaters about the mussels, an effort that took an act of Congress since it was the first billboard funded with taxpayers’ money.
Lynn coached little league for 12 years and was a Boy Scout leader with Troop 911 for over five years, where both of his sons earned Eagle Scout. Lynn also serves on the Page Utility Enterprises Board.
Valerie worked for Glen Canyon NRA for 25 years. After retirement, Valerie worked for the Glen Canyon Conservancy for seven years.
Valerie remains active in the community and continues to hike and explore the area. She is an active member of Beta Mu Sorority and has served on a board for non-credit classes for the Coconino Community College. Working with the college, Valerie has been involved with Page Attacks Trash. Both Lynn and Valerie volunteer with the Northern Arizona Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, which will be held this year at Fort Tuthill Park on July 15-17.
Fifty years have gone by fast for the Hunters. Family has always been a priority for the Hunters as they have raised three children – who have all gone on to their own successful careers – and have cared for their parents and grandparents.
Their son Ryan lives in Page, owns House of Remmus and works for the Page Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT. Their daughter Lisa lives in Juneau, Alaska, and works for the Alaska governor’s office. Son Chad is a park ranger at Grand Canyon National Park and is in charge of emergency services at the Park. They have four grandchildren.
According to Lynn and Valerie “The blessings outweigh the challenges, and we wouldn’t change any of it. A sense of humor, ability to apologize, asking to be forgiven, and allowing each other opportunities for growth and change is what has allowed our relationship to endure the ups and downs life brings. We are truly blessed to have been married 50 years.”