Thomas “Tom” Hunter
Tom Hunter was a Cleveland Heights resident for more than 40 years. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, he made his living in a long career as a commercial artist, but his real passion was history. Truthfully, he would rather have lived his life in the American west a generation or two earlier. Though he’d ridden horses a bit as a youth, in his mid-fifties, his took riding lessons to prepare for serious horse-back vacations in the west. From a fictitious Desperado Trek in 1987 (as a member of a posse chasing the dangerous outlaw group) to a couple of very real cattle drives in 1989 and 1991, he put those riding skills to good use.
Back in Northeast Ohio, he was involved in countless wild west re-enactments and skits at Burton’s Century Village and at Lake Farm Park. Some will recall his oft-played character of “Grabby” Hayes. Finally, he was active with a group of War of 1812 cavalry re-enactors, The Kentucky Light Dragoons, for several years.
Having learned gunsmithing as a youth in his grandfather’s shop, he collected and restored antique and collectible guns throughout much of his adult life, then after retiring, created a side gig doing restoration and repair for others, including military and cowboy re-enactors and members of several local police forces.
Tom is survived by his sister, Ann Hunter, who will always remember him as the “Old Cowboy” he always wanted to be.
Donations in his honor may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Cleveland Chapter, at 23215 Commerce Park, Suite 300, Beachwood, OH 44122 or to the Cleveland Institute of Art Alumni Scholarship Fund at 11610 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106.