‘A genuinely good person’: Family mourns Patrick Hunter, 75, of Craig
February 13, 2012
A 75-year-old Craig man authorities pulled from a home fire last week died Friday in Aurora, a family member said Monday.
The home of Patrick and Ursula Hunter, 67, at 1912 Woodland Ave., in Craig, caught fire Feb. 7.
Efforts to save Ursula fell short.
Patrick was flown to the University of Colorado Hospital to be treated in the burn unit for smoke inhalation.
Holly Hunter, Patrick's daughter-in-law, said the family made a difficult decision Friday to take Patrick off life support.
"He had been a heavy smoker for many years but had quit and then survived lung cancer on two separate occasions, just recently celebrating his sixth year cancer free," said Holly, office manager at the Steamboat Pilot & Today and Craig Daily Press bookkeeper/human resources administrator. "The effects, however, caused his lungs to be compromised and the smoke inhalation was more than his body could bear."
Patrick was a retired truck driver. He had two children, Kitty Warrington, of Mira Loma, Calif., and Sean Hunter, of Hayden, and four grandchildren.
"You couldn't have met a nicer person," Holly said. "He'd do anything for you."
Ursula, originally from Austria, moved to Craig in 2004 from California. She was also retired, having worked for years in the food service industry.
Patrick moved to Craig about seven years ago to help care for Ursula. Patrick and Ursula divorced years earlier, but became live-in companions in Craig.
"Not that she needed (someone to take care of her)," Holly said. "That's just the way he was. He took care of her and she took care of him."
The Hunters were at home Feb. 7 when a fire sparked inside the house.
Both Patrick and Ursula were on supplemental oxygen, and Ursula was a smoker, but investigators believe the blaze was caused by a space heater in the southeast bedroom that set window curtains on fire.
Reports indicate the Hunters rarely used the space heater, but Ursula wasn't feeling well and may have used it for additional warmth in the bedroom.
Three Craig Police officers were first on the Woodland scene and were able to pull Patrick out of the burning home.
He was transported to The Memorial Hospital in Craig and later flown to UCH in Aurora.
Firefighters were able to remove Ursula from the fire, but efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ursula had four children, Sean, and Dewey, Vincent and Leah Altizer, and two grandchildren.
Holly said Patrick made lasting impressions on everyone he met, including Craig where he lived only for a short time.
"He was a genuinely good person," Holly said. "A lot of people got to know who he was in Craig because he was such a good natured person. They both were."
Patrick and Ursula's bodies have been donated to science — Lonetree Medical Donation in Litttleton — in accordance with their final wishes, Holly said.
The family will receive their ashes in the next several weeks, and a private ceremony will take place this summer.