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Bernard Hunt, beloved library aide

LIKE A LOT of folk, Bernard Hunt felt really comfortable lounging around the house in certain relaxed clothing. In his case, a blue robe.

LIKE A LOT of folk, Bernard Hunt felt really comfortable lounging around the house in certain relaxed clothing. In his case, a blue robe.

The only problem with the blue robe, which his wife made for him when they were married 26 years ago, was that it unaccountably kept shrinking.

It couldn't have been that Bernard's girth had increased a bit over the years, could it?

"He said it was my fault because I shrunk it," his wife, Carol Jones, said with a laugh.

But tight or not, he kept wearing it.

"His favorite thing was watching TV in the kitchen in his favorite blue robe," she said.

Bernard Hunt, a customer service representative for the Internal Revenue Service for 20 years and a librarian at the Joseph Coleman Branch in Germantown, where he paid special attention to youngsters, died May 27 of a heart condition. He was 66 and lived in Mount Airy.

He also was a Navy veteran.

Bernard was a popular librarian at the Germantown branch, always helpful to visitors, especially kids, whom he took care of as if they were his own and saw to it that they had a way home.

He spent 20 years there before his retirement in 2007.

"He was excellent at customer service and conducted himself in a professional manner, always greeting patrons with a smile," his family said. "The youth who frequented the library loved him."

Bernard was born in Philadelphia the oldest of the three sons of Clara and Joe Hunt. He was educated in the public schools and spent two years at the University of Pennsylvania.

Outside the house, he had a reputation for dapper attire, always dressed in a three-piece suit.

"I never saw him in sneakers or jeans," his wife said. You also didn't see him in work clothes. Bernard was not a handyman and made no bones about it.

"Bernie was a homebody," she said. "He didn't go out much. He was mostly home with me and the children. It didn't take much to please him. He was a cool, laid-back guy."

He and Carol Jones were married in 1983. She had two daughters and a son from a previous marriage; he had a son.

"He was crazy about my children and the grandchildren, and they were crazy about him," his wife said. "He taught them the importance of education and pushed them to excel. He insisted our youngest daughter, Darlene Emmanuel, go to college and even paid her tuition."

Bernard was an avid jazz fan and had hundreds of the old vinyl recordings. He listened to his records and went out to see his favorites at local jazz clubs. Among them were drummer Philly Joe Jones, John Coltrane and Tony Williams, saxophonists. He also dug the old-timers, like Louis Armstrong. His favorite singer was Lena Horne.

He and Carol had an ideal marriage, she said. They had only three "discussions," as she called them, in 26 years of married life.

Bernard had a sentimental attachment to every gift he got from his family. That included a pair of sheepskin slippers given to him by Elena Jones.

"He loved those slippers and wore them for years until they were shredding," Carol said. "He refused to wear new ones and even wore those old slippers to the hospital."

Then there was that blue robe. Carol said he loved the robe because it reminded him of when they first met and she made it for him. His stepson, Michael Jones, gave him a nice robe, but he wouldn't wear it. "Whenever you came to Mom's you would find Bernie in that old blue robe," Michael said.

Bernard also is survived by a son, Alex, from a previous marriage.

Services: 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Cannon Funeral Chapel, 2315 N. Broad St. Friends may call at 10 a.m. *