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Chuck Hunt, state’s first ‘first husband,’ dies at 67

Chuck Hunt and his wife Jane Swift in 2001. Library Tag 08172001 MetroKREITER, Suzanne GLOBE STAFF/The Boston Globe

Chuck Hunt, who made history as the state’s first “first husband” when his wife, Jane Swift, became acting governor, died Tuesday in hospice care in his Williamstown home, on land that had been in his family for more than a century.

He was 67 and had been born with Alport syndrome, a kidney disease that led him to need a transplant in 2018. Rejection episodes last year then led to hospitalizations.

A private person who preferred the farmland of his youth, Hunt found himself in a very public role when Swift, who had been elected lieutenant governor in 1998, moved into the governor’s office in 2001, after then-Governor Paul Cellucci was appointed US ambassador to Canada.

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“I’m an open-space kind of guy,” Hunt, who had run his own construction business, told the Globe in 2001, days after Swift became governor.

As the Globe noted in that profile, he also became the state’s best-known stay-at-home father, a role he relished.

“He set aside all of his ambitions when we had children and subsumed his career for supporting our girls and was a full-time dad almost all of the time,” Swift said Tuesday. “And he was great at it, frankly.”

In addition to his wife, Hunt leaves their three daughters, Elizabeth, Lauren, and Sarah, all of Williamstown; and two sisters, Sharon Wetteland and Diane Hunt, both of Georgia.

Hunt’s son from a previous marriage, Brian, died in 2014.

The family will hold calling hours from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday in Flynn & Dagnoli Funeral home in North Adams. A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Monday in Sts. Patrick and Raphael Church in Williamstown.

“He was just a great human being,” Stacey Rainey, a longtime friend of Hunt and Swift, said Tuesday.

“When Jane and Chuck had the girls, he did everything with them — and loved it, thrived on it,” Rainey said. “He was always sharing stories about them. The girls were lucky to have that time with him.”

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The family lives on part of what was once a farm of some 200 acres, where Hunt grew up and where, for a time, he was a dairy farmer as an adult.

“He loved this farm,” Swift said, “and he loved farming.”

A complete obituary will follow.


Bryan Marquard can be reached at bryan.marquard@globe.com.