Jesthroe Hunt

Jesthroe Hunt, Sr.

Jesthroe Hunt’s life story is deeply intertwined with the history of Camden, New Jersey, and serves as a testament to the city’s cultural and societal evolution throughout the 20th century.

Born on August 3, 1920, in Conway, South Carolina, to Benjamin and Ella Hunt, Jesthroe Hunt moved with his family to Camden in the late 1920s. The Hunts first resided at 1007 Francis Street, as listed in the 1927 City Directory, and later moved to 1003 South 2nd Street by 1929, as shown in the 1929 Directory and the 1930 Census. Benjamin Hunt worked as a laborer at the RCA-Victor factory. Jesthroe grew up with three younger sisters, Mary, Sarah, and Elizabeth, and a younger brother, Joseph.

Hunt attended Cooper B. Hatch Junior High School and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in January 1939, with the family then living at 827 South 5th Street. Known as “Jay” to his classmates, he was remembered as a bit of a class clown, and his yearbook humorously characterized him with the song title I’m Nuts About Mutts. Among his classmates were notable figures such as Warren H. Patterson, who was killed in action during World War II, and Howard Unruh, who later committed a mass shooting in 1949.

By 1947, the Hunt family had moved to 753 Walnut Street, and Jesthroe, listed as a student in the Camden City Directory, may have been attending college under the G.I. Bill. He remained at this address until at least 1950, and the property stayed in the Hunt family as of October 2017, despite being vacant for years.

Jesthroe Hunt’s professional life was marked by his long service in the Camden Fire Department, starting his tenure on September 1, 1950, with Engine Company 1 at 409 Pine Street. He later lived at 340 Pine Street, close to the firehouse. He retired on September 1, 1981, after 31 years of dedicated service.

Apart from his professional life, Hunt was deeply religious, serving as a Deacon in the Fire Baptized Holiness Church. This denomination had a church at 335 Liberty Street, known as the Gist Liberty Fire Baptized Holiness Church, before relocating to 923 South 8th Street.

Jesthroe Hunt resided at 340 Pine Street until at least 2002 and passed away on October 9, 2005, at the age of 85. In his honor, the City of Camden renamed Clare Street, a small street running between Pine and Division Streets adjacent to his home, as Jesthroe Hunt Sr. Way, creating a lasting memorial to his contribution to the community.


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