Sharon Hunt, Teacher for a Quarter-Century, Dies at 65

This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Sharon Hunt always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She solidified that notion while attending high school and, once she graduated, was totally smitten after substitute teaching in Georgia, where she was able to do so without a college degree.

Finally, once her children were old enough that she didn’t need to care for them full-time, Ms. Hunt resumed her schooling. She earned two degrees in education, a bachelor’s at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights and a master’s at Wright State University in Ohio.

She taught elementary school for a nearly a quarter-century, and since 1999 instructed fifth graders in the Reading Community School District northeast of Cincinnati until she retired when the school year ended earlier this year.

She had undergone surgery for knee replacement a week before becoming ill with the coronavirus, which some believe she may have caught from a physical therapist who later called in sick. Ms. Hunt was hooked up to a ventilator for two weeks, then was told she also had pneumonia.

She died on Sept. 25 in a hospital in Montgomery, Ohio, before she could spend her first retirement check. Kristina, her daughter-in-law, confirmed that the cause was complications of Covid-19. She was 65.

“You see it on TV, but until it actually happens to somebody you love, it’s not really a reality,” Kristina Hunt said in an interview with Fox19. “We’ve watched it destroy and turn our family upside down in a matter of days.”

While her mother-in-law was ailing, Katrina created a Facebook page called “Sharon Strong.”

“She fought the hardest fight we could’ve ever asked for,” she wrote on Facebook. “‘Sharon Strong’ is, and will always be, the perfect saying for our Sharon.”

Officials from the Reading Community School District echoed the family’s sentiments. “Sharon was one of those teachers whose students came back to visit because they knew how much she cared and wanted to share with her in person what a difference she had made in their lives,” the district said in a statement.

“If a child was hungry, she shared her lunch,” said Beth Wernery, the school board president. “If a student was having a bad day, she gave up her lunchtime to hang out with them.”

Sharon Faye Shilts was born on July 11, 1955, in Cincinnati to Clifford and Avolene (Lane) Shilts. Her father managed the local water utility. Her mother was the manager of an ice-cream parlor company.

In 1973, she married Edward Hunt. They moved to Georgia for several years where he worked for Ford before returning to Ohio, where they lived in Milford.

Mr. Hunt had also recently retired, and was looking forward to traveling with his wife. He is recovering from Covid-19 himself.

“For those of you who don’t think that the Covid is real,” Mr. Hunt told Fox19, “I was one of those people who did not believe it was real, but now that it has happened to this family, I know that it is real.”

In addition to her husband, Ms. Hunt is survived by her mother; her sons, Jeremiah and Joseph; nine grandchildren; her sisters, Brenda Metcalf and Pauline Hiter; and her brother, Clifford Shilts III.

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