Softball 01

Michael G. "Mike" Hunter

February 8, 1951 ~ August 10, 2022 (age 71)


STEVENSVILLE – Michael G. Hunter, 71, of Stevensville passed away Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in the comfort of his home surrounded by family. He was born Feb. 8, 1951, in Portland, TN, the son of Lewis and Lorene (Hawkins) Hunter. Mike was raised in Portland, Tennessee, growing up with his seven siblings and working at the family grocery stores. As a hometown athlete, Mike enjoyed playing baseball and was most known for his natural speed and talent on the football field, playing for Portland High School and graduating in 1969. He joined the Marine Corp and was honorably discharged in 1972. Mike attended Western Kentucky University and worked on the McGlothin Farm in Portland until the summer of 1978, when his high school buddy asked if he would like to come to Montana and work for Rocky Mountain Outfitters in Glacier National Park. In the summer of 1980, Mike went back to the park to work, meeting the love of his life, Janet Rae Merkel, marrying on Sept. 19, 1981. Mike and Janet spent the next six years working in Glacier National Park in the summer and Big Mountain in the winter. In 1986 they moved to Missoula where Mike enrolled at the University of Montana and received his teaching certificate. In 1989 Mike got his first teaching job at Stevensville High School, teaching special education, world history, sociology, and psychology, retiring after 24 years. With a passion for coaching, he coached both football and softball at Stevensville, starting the softball program in 1997, ultimately winning 3rd place at the state softball tournament in 2000. Mike’s passion in life was his family and friends. Mike and Janet would have been married 41 years in Sept 2022. During those years they had three beautiful children, Michele, Lacey and Isaac. Mike loved watching his children grow into the amazing successful adults they have become. He was the first to celebrate all their accomplishments and give them the best words of advice when it was needed. Mike’s greatest pride and joy in his later years were his three grandchildren, Hoyt, Oakly and Cayden. His grandchildren have many fond memories with their “Pops.” Hunter loved all his friends and was always sharing the “good ole days” stories. His legacy will live on through his children and grandchildren and all the stories his friends will tell. Mike is survived by his wife Janet of Stevensville; daughter Michele and husband Jason Bangen, grandson Hoyt and granddaughter Oakly of Hot Springs, Lacey and husband Chad Sutherlin, grandson Cayden of Stevensville, and Isaac Hunter and husband Tyler Nelson of Seattle; and siblings Julia (Van) Pond of Cottontown, TN, Tom (Vivian) Hunter of Gordonsville, TN, Sara (Ron) Renfro of Portland, TN, Ivy (Bobby) South of Portland, TN and many nieces and nephews. Mike was preceded in death by Lewis Hunter (Father), Lorene Hawkins Hunter (Mother), Huey Hunter (Brother), Dora Ann Graves (Sister) and Pat Hunter (Brother). A celebration of life will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 5:00 PM at The Old Farmstead, 367 Rhodes Ln, Stevensville, MT. A short service will be led by Mike’s three children, with dinner to follow. In lieu of flowers, we encourage you to support Big Sky Palliative and Hospice, 1900 S Reserve St, Missoula, MT 59801 or Bitterroot Special Olympics, PO Box 1344, Florence, MT 59833. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

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Celebration of Life
August 17, 2022

5:00 AM
The Old Farmstead
367 Rhodes Lane
Stevensville, MT 59870

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