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Ruth Fleming Hunt, 95, retired teacher, reading specialist in Philly public schools

Ruth Fleming Hunt's family can be traced to one of 14 African American enslaved families at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

Ruth Fleming Hunt, 95, a retired Philadelphia public school teacher and reading specialist, died Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.
Ruth Fleming Hunt, 95, a retired Philadelphia public school teacher and reading specialist, died Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.Read morehandout

Ruth Fleming Hunt, 95, of Ambler, a teacher and reading specialist in the Philadelphia School District, died Saturday, Oct. 26, at Artman Assisted Living Community in Ambler.

Mrs. Hunt was born to Maude Henry and James Pendleton Fleming in Charlottesville, Va. After graduating from Jefferson High School, she earned a bachelor of science degree at Virginia State University in 1945.

She completed additional education coursework at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania, and earned a master’s degree in education from Temple University in 1967.

She began her career as a comptroller for Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. There, mutual friends introduced her to Richard H. Hunt Sr. of Chester, said her son, Richard H. Jr. They began a long-distance romance, and in 1952 they married and moved to Philadelphia.

Mrs. Hunt worked as an accountant, and later began teaching at an elementary school and became a reading specialist. Her son said she also served as president of the Philadelphia chapter of the International Reading Association.

“She was very ambitious and very well-educated,” her son said.

When she retired from the School District in 1986, a district superintendent, Loretta E. Scuderi, thanked her in a letter for her “fine service” and “commitment to our children.”

Richard Hunt Jr. described his mother as elegant and particular about her appearance.

Mrs. Hunt’s family can trace its roots to slavery at Thomas Jefferson’s home of Monticello, where her great-grandfather Henry Martin was born on July 4, 1826, the day the former president died. On, which lists 14 known African American families of Monticello, Martin is quoted as saying Jefferson was his grandfather, but the site says there are no clear records of who his parents were.

In January 2012, Mrs. Hunt was a guest of honor when the University of Virginia sponsored “Henry Martin Day.” Martin began working at UVA around 1847, ringing the bell in the Rotunda every hour on the hour from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for more than a half-century, the university said. Mrs. Hunt was proud of her great-grandfather’s role.

She was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and was active in its Omega Omega chapter in Philadelphia.

“She was very proud of being a ‘Golden Soror,’” a designation that meant she had been an AKA for at least 50 years, her son said. She loved her sorority sisters and they visited her often at Artman, he said. A group of them joined Mrs. Hunt in celebrating her 95th birthday in September.

Mrs. Hunt enjoyed traveling, particularly with members of the International Reading Association. She visited several countries including England, France, Italy, China, Egypt, and Australia.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Hunt is survived by other relatives. Her husband died in 2009.

Donations may be sent to the Artman Benevolent Fund, 250 N. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, Pa., 19002.

A private graveside funeral service will be Nov. 18 at a family plot in Oakwood Cemetery, Charlottesville, Va.