Michael Jay Hunter was born November 19, 1951, to Donald Leroy Hunter and Beatrice Louise Hunter, née Ronschke. The oldest of three boys, Michael grew up in Norwalk, Ohio, graduating high school in 1969. After a few years of migrating between Ohio and Florida, he graduated from the 99th class of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy. In his first posting in Toledo, he met and later married the love of his life, Connie Teresa Zobler. Together they had two children, Jonathan and Natalie, before moving to Xenia, where their third child, Stephanie, was born. In 1994, the family moved to Athens when Michael was promoted to Lieutenant and became Post Commander of Post 5, overseeing the building of the current Post.
In 2003, Michael retired from the Patrol and worked in crash reconstruction while earning his bachelor’s in business. After briefly serving as interim chief of police in Nelsonville, he became a driving instructor for AAA, where his three decades of driving experience helped a generation of learners take to the roads safely. It was during this time that Michael rediscovered his love of ultracycling, setting the record for the west to east crossing of Ohio in 2011, completing Race Across America in 2017 as part of a four-man team, and Race Across the West in 2019 as part of a two-man team.
Michael was known for his determination, sense of fairness and kindness to all who knew him. He was active in Kiwanis and was a lifelong Presbyterian. Whether he was cycling, writing his several unpublished novels, making a bid in politics or playing with his grandchildren, he held himself to the highest of standards and inspired others to do the same. Following his diagnosis of cancer in 2021, Michael continued to teach, cycle and look after his family and town. He was attempting to form a committee to fix the sidewalks around East Elementary when his cancer finally overcame him in late May. He passed surrounded by his loving family on June 20, 2023. He was the best of men.
Michael is survived by his wife, Connie, his brothers, Mark Hunter and Scott Hunter, his three children, Jonathan (Kendall) Hunter, Natalie (Ryan) Wittmann and Stephanie (Mark Nisbet) Hunter, and his five grandchildren, Henry and Milo Hunter, and Alfred, Rowenna and Catherine Hunter Nisbet.
Michael chose to gift his body to Ohio State University for cancer research. A memorial service will be held in First Presbyterian Church in Athens on Saturday, June 24th at 10 a.m., with a memorial bike ride to follow at 11:15 a.m., starting at Peden Stadium and ending in Eclipse Company Store in The Plains, where a reception will be held upstairs starting at 12 p.m. All who knew and loved Michael are welcome. Details can be found on Facebook. Donations can be made in his name to Peletonia, to fund cancer research, using the link https://www.pelotonia.org/profile/MH0341.