Martin Paul Hunter (March 17, 1943 - February 06, 2024)

In loving memory of
Martin Paul Hunter
  • March 17, 1943
  • -
  • February 06, 2024

  • Obituary
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Obituary

Martin Paul Hunter of North Port passed away peacefully on February 6th, 2024, at the age of 80. He leaves behind two daughters, Harley Kate Cardinal and Shannon Amerilda Scielzo, and a son, Sean Patrick Hunter.

He had eight grandchildren, including Harley’s daughters Aurora and Harper, Shannon’s daughters Jade and Topaz, and Sean’s sons Rick, Christopher, Jacob and Matthew. He is survived by his two brothers Jim and Tom, and his sister Pat.

Marty was born in Schenectady, New York in 1943 to Walter and Violet Hunter, and attended Bishop Gibbons High School, where he played wide-out in football, and the tuba and French horn in the band. He attended college briefly, then set out traveling across the country with his new wife and son to find a place in the hospitality industry, eventually landing with Royal Inns of America in San Diego. He loved to tell the story of how he started out as a dishwasher and worked all the way up to General Manager. He applied his talents across the country, including Innisbrook Resort in Tarpon Springs, before settling in Orlando, Florida. He managed many hotels in the area, before becoming General Manager of the Gateway Inn. He expanded it from 200 to 400 rooms, and added a new lounge, restaurant, lobby complex and pool bar.

Marty was an innovator. He purchased buses so his property could offer transportation to Disney and other theme parks in the area, enabling the hotel to acquire lucrative tour group business from faraway places like England, Brazil, and Michigan, allowing the Gateway to remain full even during the slow season. He partnered with local high schools to create a program for special needs students to work at the hotel. He instituted a partnership with Valencia Community college to train students for careers in hospitality. He even bought the Orlando Police department a horse, when they had trouble patrolling traffic-jammed International Drive in the 1980s. Well-respected by his peers in the industry, he became the Chairman of the Central Florida Hotel and Motel Association, and then later the Florida version. He was one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the Orange County Convention Center into one of the nation’s largest, and a plaque hangs there recognizing his 30 years of “enthusiastic dedication to the hospitality industry of Central Florida.” He was also a dedicated member of SKAL, the largest travel and tourism association in the world.

He was once instrumental in apprehending a purse snatcher on International Drive. He witnessed the crime and tailed the assailant for miles, signaling a passing patrol car, a story that made the local newscasts and the pages of the Sentinel Star.

In the latter part of his career, he managed hotels around the country in places like Arcadia, Florida, Hendersonville, North Carolina, and Brownsville, Texas. He travelled all over the world including Brazil, Costa Rica, and his favorite destination, Thailand.

Marty was a dedicated family man as well. He was married three times, to Beryl Theresa Bayly, Jane Ellen Wamboldt, and Cheryl Pickles. In his later years, he especially enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren.

One of Marty’s favorite sayings was “If you find something you love to do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” He will be remembered by many.

Although there will be a celebration of life for him, the date and location are yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Central Florida Hotel Lodging Association Foundation.


Tribute Wall

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  1. Carol Hubbard, SKAL says:
    21 Feb 2024
    speedbird2@comcast.net

  2. Carol Hubbard, SKAL says:
    21 Feb 2024
    Marty, GGFL, See y'all on the other side my friend. Carol, SKAL Orlando

  3. Carol Hubbard, SKAL lit a candle:
    20 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 20, 2024 at 2:59:29 PM

  4. Jacob Hunter lit a candle:
    17 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 17, 2024 at 2:21:46 PM

  5. Matt Hunter lit a candle:
    13 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 13, 2024 at 2:45:17 PM

  6. sophie lit a candle:
    12 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 12, 2024 at 2:48:00 PM

  7. James Olson says:
    12 Feb 2024
    Jim.olson25@yahoo.com

  8. Kathy morrell lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:36:53 PM

  9. Jayme Knight lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:33:40 PM

  10. Chris Hunter lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:24:40 PM

  11. Chip Ford lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:20:05 AM

  12. Jeanette C. Collet lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:03:58 AM

  13. Belinda Hulen lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:14:16 AM

  14. Dakota Goldberg lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:39:59 AM

  15. Melanie (Em) Powers Hunter lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:47:00 AM

  16. Sean Hunter lit a candle:
    11 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 11, 2024 at 2:55:59 AM

  17. Theony lit a candle:
    10 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 10, 2024 at 2:34:46 PM

  18. Cheryl Rozanski lit a candle:
    10 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 10, 2024 at 2:50:25 PM

  19. THMJ lit a candle:
    10 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 10, 2024 at 2:47:58 PM

  20. Cuca Lacombe-Dean lit a candle:
    10 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 10, 2024 at 2:39:08 PM

  21. Andrew Cardinal lit a candle:
    10 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 10, 2024 at 2:43:24 PM

  22. Scott Schultz lit a candle:
    10 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 10, 2024 at 2:18:27 PM

  23. Shannon lit a candle:
    10 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 10, 2024 at 2:09:46 PM

  24. HARLEY K CARDINAL posted an image:
    10 Feb 2024
    Harper (granddaughter) napping comfortably.
    Harper (granddaughter) napping comfortably.

  25. HARLEY K CARDINAL posted an image:
    10 Feb 2024
    Legend Photo
    Legend Photo

  26. HARLEY K CARDINAL posted an image:
    10 Feb 2024
    Favorite adventure photo
    Favorite adventure photo

  27. Harley lit a candle:
    10 Feb 2024
    Lit since February 10, 2024 at 2:23:34 PM

  28. Harley says:
    10 Feb 2024
    “It was killin′ me to see
    The strongest man I ever knew
    Wastin' away to nothin′
    In that hospital room
    'You know he′s only hangin' on for you'
    That′s what the night nurse said
    My voice and heart were breakin′
    As I crawled up in his bed, and said
    You can let go now, Daddy
    You can let go”

    I can’t put into words how difficult it was to let you go. To tell you it was time to go. To hold you as you left this world. I’m relived that you’re a peace but my heart breaks that you are gone.

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