The early years
Born in 1907 in Staples, MN of relatively poor but educated parents, Tiny grew up in Yakima, WA. His father, George, was a minister who owned a small fruit farm and his mother, Gerta Corbin, reared five children. His mother died when he was only 13. The strict parents expected their children to excel and behave properly.
His oldest brother, Ray C. Hunt, matriculated at the University of Washington where he studied mechanical engineering, graduating in 1916. He captained the 1915 undefeated football team under famed football coach, Gil Dobie, which won him All-American Honors. Subsequently, Ray moved to New Brunswick, NJ. In 1920, Coach Dobie became Cornell’s football coach and asked Ray to join him in Ithaca as his assistant, which he did. Cornell had some of its best teams in the early ‘20s, winning national championships in ’21, ’22, and ’23 with undefeated teams.
A strong and tough kid, Tiny was a Washington All-State guard on the Yakima High School football team. His English teacher was William O. Douglas, later a Supreme Court Justice. Tiny learned to use the English language with care. He valued and respected nature, and, as a Texaco refinery engineer, took pride in the fact that the water returned to the Delaware River was cleaner than what was taken. Tiny always was doing chores at home, on the fruit farm or had a job. After he graduated from high school, his father said, “You are now a man. You must make your life on your own”.
Tiny looked to his brother, Ray, for guidance, as Ray, Jr. later in life looked to Tiny. (Google, Ray C. Hunt, Jr., obit, for his life story.) Coach Dobie, always looking for outstanding football talent, asked Ray, “You don’t have any younger brothers as half as good as you were, do you?” Ray mentioned a brother who had just graduated from Yakima and who was All-State and pretty tough. Coach Dobie persuaded Ray to bring Tiny east, where Tiny lived in a cold attic in New Brunswick and attended Rutgers Prep in preparation for the competitive Cornell engineering program. Tiny played football at Rutgers Prep and was named a New Jersey All-State guard. Tiny used to say, jokingly, that he was the only kid he knew who was All-State in two states.