Mark Hunter, associate professor of theatre, died on Sunday, Nov. 6. There will be a memorial service on campus on Monday, Nov. 14 starting at 11:10 a.m. in Kimmel Theatre. The service will be live streamed on the web here.
In a campuswide message announcing the death, Cornell Dean Joe Dieker wrote: “Mark was a valued community member who has taught at Cornell since 2002. He will be greatly missed. Counseling is available for students, faculty and staff dealing with this loss. Students can contact the Counseling Center, and support for students, faculty, and staff is also available from the Chaplain’s Office.”
Hunter’s family submitted this obituary:
Mark Hunter, Associate Professor of the Department of Theatre and Communications Studies at Cornell College, died suddenly and peacefully at age 61 in his Iowa City home on Sunday, November 6, 2011. The cause was heart failure.
Born in Manhattan (New York) on October 25, 1950, Mark Hunter was the first of two children born to Diane and Jack Roth.
He is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Claire Joseph. He is also survived by his daughter, Galen Joseph-Hunter, her husband Tom Roe and their daughter Echo; his son Eli Joseph-Hunter, his partner Briana Davis and their daughter Celia June; and his father, Jack Roth and Jack’s wife Myrna.
Professor Hunter dedicated his life to the theatre and his family.
At the age of eight, he began an acting career in New York City; represented by the William Morris Agency. His child acting credits include Broadway, Off Broadway, television, and voice-over work. He played the role of “Little Yonkers” in the Broadway-run of “Gypsy” starring Ethel Merman, and the role of “Tom” in the Broadway-production of “Camelot” starring Julie Andrews.
Prof. Hunter received his JD from Syracuse University College of Law in 1978; he was a practicing attorney until 1981, when he returned to his love of the theatre and launched an ambitious new company called Playmakers Theatre in Tampa, Florida. He served as Producing Artistic Director of Playmakers until 1990.
In 1992 Prof. Hunter relocated to Iowa City with his wife and son to pursue his Masters Degree in Directing at the University of Iowa. Following, he received his PhD in Theatre History and Criticism from the University of Texas at Austin. Much to the delight of both Prof. Hunter and his wife, they were able to return to Iowa City when Prof. Hunter joined the faculty of Cornell College in 2002.
As a result of his tireless appetite for creative output, he directed hundreds of productions including his stage adaptation of Lee Smith’s award-winning novel “Fair and Tender Ladies” (re-titled “Ivy Rowe” on stage), which received an Off Broadway production and was presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He also directed the New York premiere of “A Greater Good,” written by Keith Huff, Prof. Hunter’s long-time friend and colleague.
On the introductory page of his 2005 dissertation “Theatrical Wonder,” Prof. Hunter wrote about the phenomenon of theatrical reception: “There are times, sitting with others in a darkened theatre, when my powers of perception, my very senses are heightened, and I feel myself expanding with a sense of possibility, a sudden alertness to that which is, to that which will – or might – be.”
A memorial service will be held on Monday, November 21, 2011, 7 p.m., at Riverside Theatre, 213 N. Gilbert St, Iowa City, IA 52245, where Prof. Hunter served as a frequent director and collaborator.