DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) — The Bull City is remembering a staple in the community. Ralph Hunt Sr. died Tuesday at the age of 83, friends say.

His sudden passing is a shock to many who knew him well.

“Disbelief. Immediately, I just thought about his family,” said Omar Beasley, Hunt’s friend and mentee.

Hunt Sr. was a husband, father and grandfather. Before he served five terms in the state Senate, he was a Durham City Councilman and educator — teaching at Hillside High and North Carolina Central University.

Hunt, a native of Oxford, N.C., even established a chain of convenience stores called Parkview in Durham. The location off Fayetteville Road is under new management.

Friends say his death was sudden.

“Mr. Hunt was a leader. A true leader.” Beasley said.

Last year, when Hunt stepped down as chairman of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, Beasley became his successor.

“He taught me leadership, I’ve always thought of myself as a leader, but he taught me how to lead with a firm hand,” Beasley said.

In 2014, friends credit Hunt’s firm leadership for establishing the 82-year-old organization’s first official headquarters.

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