From J. Henry Stuhr, Mount Pleasant Chapel.
Bruce Hunter, a veteran newspaperman whose 35-year career took him from the police beat to sports editor, city editor and eventually news executive at one of the finest community papers in America, died Wednesday in Charleston, SC, after a brief illness. He was 60.
Bruce's last job was managing editor of the Greenwich (Conn.) Time newspaper, where he distinguished himself and his staff by winning numerous regional and national awards for reporting, sports coverage, photography and editorial writing. For many years it was named Newspaper of the Year in New England in recognition of its overall achievements.
Fresh out of college, Bruce began his career as a police reporter at Greenwich Time in 1974. During his first months on the job, a 15-year-old girl named Martha Moxley was slain in an affluent neighborhood of Greenwich in a story that gained national attention. The case went unsolved for years until Michael Skakel, a nephew of the Kennedy family, was arrested and convicted of murder.
Bruce later became sports editor and his coverage included many state tournaments of town teams. He was praised by coaches for his tireless efforts and often stayed late at the office taking call-ins to get stories in the next day's paper. He also covered local figures who would become icons in their sports, including Dorothy Hamill's return to Greenwich after winning a gold medal in figure skating in the 1976 Olympics and Steve Young, who went on to quarterback the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl glory.
In 1985, he was promoted to city editor and managed a staff of reporters covering municipal beats from local government to zoning, along with the occasional story that had national appeal, including those involving President George H. Bush, whose family lived in the town. There was also the routine celebrity story about figures in entertainment, sports and business who made Greenwich their home, from film producer Ron Howard to tennis star Ivan Lendl and IBM President Thomas J. Watson Jr.
Throughout his career, Bruce distinguished himself as a newsman committed to the highest journalistic ethics and fairness. It was commonly known among the staff that he preferred to get the facts correct and have all the sides of an issue reported rather than rush an inadequate story into print.
His longtime colleague Joseph Pisani, who worked with him throughout much of his career said, "When I began at Greenwich Time in 1976, Bruce was the police reporter filing about three stories a day. We saw a lot of changes over the years in the community and the business. Bruce loved local news, but perhaps his most defining characteristic was his integrity. He was always my conscience. Whenever there was a questionable story, he was the one to ask, 'Is this fair? Do we have both sides?' His sense of ethics was impeccable and, sad to say, you don't see that in journalism today."
Born Sept. 8, 1953 to the late William and Hester Martin Hunter, Bruce was raised in upstate New York and graduated from Ticonderoga High School. He received an associate's degree in journalism from State University of New York at Morrisville and immediately started work at Greenwich Time.
An avid sports fan, Bruce was on the Board of Directors of the Greenwich Old Timers Athletic Association and through the years was responsible for helping organize the group's annual dinner at which national sports figures were honored.
"Bruce spent his entire career at Greenwich Time. That just doesn't happen anymore," said John Breunig, the newspaper's editorial page editor. "He didn't just cover the community; he was part of the community."
He and the paper received numerous awards under his leadership, and he was especially proud of the Times Mirror Journalist of the Year honor from the Los Angeles Times company for developing several new feature sections. For many years, the newspaper was owned by the parent company of The Los Angeles Times, until it was purchased by the Chicago Tribune, which ran it until 2008.
In recent years, Bruce lived in Mount Pleasant, SC. His passions were his home-improvement projects and his love of pop culture and the Christmas holidays. Brucehad extensive collections of action figures, comic art and ornaments which he and his wife, Sue, collected over their 37-year marriage and many travels.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Susan of Mount Pleasant, SC; two sisters, Anne Munger of East Durham, NY, and Judy Hunter of Plainfield, VT; along with three nieces and two grand-nephews.
A memorial service will be held in Greenwich, at a later date.
Arrangements are being handled by J. HENRY STUHR, INC., MOUNT PLEASANT CHAPEL, 1494 Mathis Ferry Rd., Mount Pleasant, SC 29464.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to American Lung Association in South Carolina, 44-A Markfield Dr., Charleston, SC 29407 or The American Cancer Society, 5900 Core Road, Suite 504, North Charleston, SC 29406.