Gallery: Nancy Hunt [6 Images] Click any image to expand.
by Anne Batty
At a time when women are struggling to have it all - marriage, family and career - San Clementean Nancy Hunt has accomplished just that … just not all at once.
“I got married at a time when women were privileged to be stay-at-home-moms, and I was fortunate to be able to focus on raising our sons, and playing lots of tennis in the process,” Nancy revealed chuckling. “Then once the boys were raised, my husband, Bob, and I decided it was time to take our partnership to another level.” And a partnership in all things is exactly what this couple (who met on the beach in Santa Barbara and married two and a half months later), have established and maintained for the past 57 years.
As Nancy tells it, one of the big attractions to this fledging relationship was the Hunt family’s heritage in Santa Barbara, CA. The idea of marrying into a lineage that had established roots in that area in the 1860s was very exciting to her. But ironically, as often happens with expectations, her desire to live there was unfulfilled as the Bob/Nancy Hunt family has never made their home in that area.
After their hasty marriage the newlyweds lived on Camp Pendleton while Bob finished his tour of duty in the Marine Corps. It was then that the duo had their first encounter with San Clemente, but because Bob’s undergraduate work at Princeton had been interrupted when he joined the Marines they left the area to move to the east coast so he could complete his degree.
With those studies completed California soon beckoned the couple home, and they settled down in Lynn Ranch (formerly the Hunt Ranch) in Thousand Oaks. Bob immediately busied himself with graduate work at UCLA, while teaching Philosophy at the University of Redlands. Nancy focused on making a home for the family, but when she wasn’t busy meeting their needs - or smashing lobs on the tennis courts - her latent interest in family heritage began rearing its insistent head.
“I became one of several people instrumental in founding the Historical Society of Thousand Oaks,” Nancy said. “One of the projects I am most proud of is the refurbishment of the old Stage Coach Inn located in Newbury Park next to Thousand Oaks. Each family involved in the renovations established a room in the Inn, and the Hunt room was set up in the entryway. We also restored the old Blacksmith Shop as a part of the museum, and some of the tools on display are from the Blacksmith Shop on the former Hunt Ranch.”
While speaking about these tools, a sly grin spread slowly across Nancy’s face, and eyes dancing with the mischief of remembering she said, “at one time we had used that old blacksmith firepot to boil lobsters in, and believe it or not they were really quite tasty.”
The Beach Beckons
While circumstances seemed to have drawn the Hunts away from a life near the beach, it wasn’t destined to keep them away for long. After re-visiting San Clemente several times over the next few years, in 1977 the Hunt family finally found their way back to the place where their married life had begun. And it was to be in San Clemente where Nancy’s professional life would take off and flourish.
Putting their heads together, the Hunts decided the time was right for forming a partnership in Real Estate. The entrepreneurial lovebirds began their venture working for Orange Valley Real Estate in San Juan Capistrano, eventually becoming partners with Conrad Realtors in San Clemente. And that relationship would remain steadfast for the next 16 years.
Then in 2005 the Hunt’s son, Scott, was instrumental in securing an opportunity to purchase a real estate franchise with Keller-Williams. This company’s motto is God first, family second, business third. As a family of strong faith they believed this was the right move for them to make. And guided by the expertise of their son, they began construction on a building located on Avenida Pico, the structure that houses their establishment today.
“We are blessed to have a business we can be proud of,” Nancy stated. “It is interesting that Bob started out teaching ethics, and now he/we have opportunity to practice them daily. We both do our best to live up to the company’s motto, as well as the beliefs we profess.”
Nancy says she came to her faith when she was baptized at nine-yrs-old. “I came up out of the water seeing angels,” she said. “I always knew I was a child of God.”
During almost 40 years in town both Hunts, have been very involved in the San Clemente Presbyterian Church. Bob has assumed the office of Elder, Nancy Deacon, and both have served as Youth Club Directors, among other things.
When not working in the church or in Real Estate, Bob is happiest in the solitude of reading, and writing books and articles for numerous publications. Nancy is most content when involved with people and the community at large. She has served willingly on town committees and in organizations too numerous to name. She presently serves on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (as well as having been Chair) and was one of 25 local citizens who worked on the General Plan for San Clemente. Named Volunteer of the Year in 2014, it’s obvious the word “no” isn’t a part of her vocabulary.
In her professional life Nancy has served as President of the Orange County Association of Realtors for two years; been named Orange County Realtor of the Year; and inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Realtors. Politically she has acted as a Trustee for the Issues Mobilization PAC for the California Association of Realtors and as a National Association of Realtors liaison with Representative John Campbell in Washington DC.
As a wife and mother, Nancy is matriarch of a family consisting of husband, Bob; four sons, Trey, an Orange County Sheriff, Scott a partner in their business, Matt a professor at Saddleback College, George, a High School Administrator; and ten grandchildren, nine of whom are boys. She has hosted a weekly family dinner for the last 25 years and between family and friends can have from 20 to 25 guests show up. Each Christmas she and her daughters-in-law shop for Christmas ornaments together, and it is her belief that all these family activities keep parents, siblings and cousins in touch.
What Nancy remembers most of her personal family life is her relationship with her brother, Harv Presnell, star of the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown. They had many great moments in their younger years singing and enjoying music together. One such moment occurred at a church service one Christmas Eve. It seems that in the midst of the congregation’s singing of Joy to the World, the entire church stopped participating just to listen to her brother sing. “He had a voice like an angel,” said Nancy beaming proudly.
From homemaker to homemarketer, Nancy Hunt’s life journey is an example of how a will can definitely find a way to “have it all.” And whether it happens all at once or over time, the rewards to be savored are many and very, very sweet.