American Patriotic 10


R. Bruce Hunter

July 6, 1939 ~ July 6, 2018 (age 79)

R. Bruce Hunter of Braintree, formerly of Boston and Cambridge, passed away on July 6, 2018, his 79th birthday.   He was the loving father of Kristen Hunter and her husband Philip Paik of Boston; devoted husband of the late Faith Van Nice; former husband of Ruth Hunter and Barbara Allabough; brother of Robert J. Hunter of Wrentham, Dennis A. Hunter and his wife Jill of Saratoga, CA, Joan Pearman and her husband Ian of Harpenden, Hertsfordshire, England, and Charles J. Hunter and his partner Paulita Fagan of Liverpool, NY.

Bruce was a star athlete, whose accomplishments were evident early on.  The highlight of his swimming career was competing for the United States swimming team in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. At the U.S. Olympic Trials, Bruce finished second in the 100-meter freestyle, edging out favorite Jeff Farrell, who was recovering from an appendectomy. Bruce volunteered to relinquish his place on the team in favor of Farrell, but Farrell, the team coach, and the Olympic Committee declined his offer. At the Games in Rome, he swam the second-fastest time in the semifinals to qualify for the 100-meter freestyle final, which would become, and remain, one of the most controversial races in swimming history. Bruce finished in fourth place, just four-tenths of a second behind the leaders, and two-tenths of a second out of bronze-medal contention.

As an undergraduate at Harvard University, Bruce was a nine-time NCAA All-American and national record-holder in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events. He was inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1986.

Following his graduation from Harvard in 1961, Bruce enlisted in the United States Navy, which allowed him to train for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo as a member of the Navy’s training squad. He was awarded the American Spirit of Honor Medal in recognition of his exemplary leadership during seaman recruit training. As a petty officer, Bruce competed in the U.S., Canada, South America, and Europe, winning three gold medals at the International Military Games.

Bruce returned to Harvard after the Navy, earning an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1974. Over the course of his professional career, he worked in a variety of capacities in the finance industry at Raytheon, State Street Bank and Trust, and Fidelity Investments, among others.

In recognition of his athletic achievements, Bruce was appointed the first chairman of the U.S. Swimming Alumni Association and served as president of the New England chapter of the United States Olympians Association. In addition to winning numerous masters swimming championships, he also coached masters swim programs and mentored countless individual athletes. 

Donations in Bruce’s honor may be made to Boston VA Healthcare System, Voluntary & Recreation Service, ATTN: Richard Bruce Hunter’s Memorial Gift Fund, 150 South Huntington Avenue (135), Boston, MA 02130.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. 




The Race that Changed Olympic Swimming:


Swimming at the 1960 Summer Olympics — Men’s 100-Metre Freestyle:–_Men%27s_100_metre_freestyle


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