BYNUM MERRITT HUNTER
June 13, 1925-January 18, 2018
Bynum Merritt Hunter passed away at home peacefully in his sleep after a long illness, with family by his side. Bynum was fiercely devoted to his family, his country, his friends and to the common cause of humanity. He was a symbol of decency, collegiality and courtesy. A true “Southern Gentleman”, he exemplified the phrase “to walk with kings nor lose the common touch.”
Bynum Merritt Hunter was born to Annie Merritt Hunter and Hill McIver Hunter on June 13, 1925, in his childhood home in Fisher Park in Greensboro, where he resided with his older brothers, Hill McIver Hunter, Jr. and Dr. John Gray Hunter. He graduated from Woodberry Forest School in 1943 where he was a Prefect and Captain of the Woodberry track team and a “wingback” on the Woodberry football team. During World War II Bynum volunteered for military service. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy (1945-1947), and was stationed in the South Pacific. Bynum Hunter stood with his country during war and peace. Proud, confident and courageous, he was a true patriot, deeply loving his country and cherishing freedom.
Bynum attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as part of the V-12 program, and graduated in 1945. At UNC, he was a star athlete and, as captain of the varsity track team, competed in two major track events at Madison Square Garden. He was also a member of Zeta Psi Fraternity and Gorgonshead. After graduating from the University of North Carolina School of Law, he joined the Greensboro law firm of Smith Sapp Moore and Smith in 1949, and ultimately became a senior partner with the firm of Smith Moore Smith Schell and Hunter in Greensboro (now Fox Rothschild LLP).
Bynum served as President of the Greensboro Bar Association and was the youngest inductee of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was involved with numerous high profile trials, working alongside McNeill Smith in the Junius Scales trial and with Telfred Taylor on the Nuremberg Trials. Bynum was known for his brilliance, prowess and charm in the courtroom. He served as attorney for the Atlantic Coast Conference for more than 25 years. His Restricted Justice Fund supported the North Carolina Bar Association’s Lawyers in the Schools Project, which paired lawyers with schools in North Carolina to further civic education and understanding of the legal system. The Galleria of the North Carolina Bar Center is named in his honor. Bynum was committed to his community and served as a member of the Greensboro Rotary Club for more than 75 years, following in the footsteps of his father who was a founding member of the club. He was proud to serve by his wife’s side as she served in Helsinki as the United States Ambassador to Finland.
Bynum Merritt Hunter is survived by his wife of 38 years, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter; their son, Bynum Merritt Hunter, Jr; daughters, Mary Parker Hunter and Shirley Hunter and son-in-law Alex Pietruska, and a grandson, Hunter Pietruska.
Bynum will be remembered for his impeccable character and integrity, social graces, and patriotism. Even in death, Bynum has left us a wonderful heritage of love of country, family, and a great generosity of spirit that will never die.