Calvin Hunt. Photo by Paul Kolnik
Calvin Hunt
  • 59 years old
  • Date of birth: Nov 27, 1954
  • Date of passing: Apr 6, 2014
Let the memory of Calvin be with us forever

Calvin Vernon Hunt died unexpectedly on Sunday, April 6, 2014. 

Born Nov. 27, 1954, in Washington, D.C., Calvin grew up in Tacoma, Washington, where he maintained deep roots throughout his life. He graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts and moved to New York City in the late 1970s to pursue a career in dance before switching his focus to backstage.

Calvin began his career as stage manager for the Dance Theatre of Harlem before joining Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's production staff in 1982, where he became a pivotal leader within the organization. He also was proud to serve for two years as director of touring and production at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Calvin touched many lives around the world and helped launch and sustain many careers in the arts.

In addition to being a devoted husband and loving father, Calvin was a beloved friend and colleague. He was proud to be an SGI-USA member and was passionate about his Buddhist practice, which entailed working for other people's happiness for the past 20-plus years. 

He was a wise, humorous, thoughtful, and generous presence in many lives. He was a citizen of the world who embraced the joys of travel, cycling, and food - from his favorite BBQing to exploring intriguing new recipes for family and his many friends.

At the time of his death, Calvin resided in South Orange, N.J. with his beloved wife of 16 years, Margaret; and their two children, Elisha and Brenna. Calvin is also survived by his sister, Sonya Hunt.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Elizabeth Pomeroy on 17th November 2015

"Thinking of you dear Calvin, as I do every day.  Every room of my house has photos of you, Margaret, Eli, and Brenna, so you are ever near.  Loving thoughts from your Mom-in-Law"

This tribute was added by Robert Garland on 6th April 2015

"It's funny, right now at Dance Theatre of Harlem, we have as interim Executive Leadership, Sharon Luckman.

I am firmly convinced that she was sent here by Calvin, once I found out from her that they worked very closely together at Ailey.

And now I love Sharon like I loved Calvin. Missing you friend."

This tribute was added by Lee Wright on 3rd January 2015

"Sadly I was only with Calvin on a few occasions over the years – his wedding to the wonderful Margaret, a family reunion in New Jersey and especially a lunch at Trattoria Dell'Arte in NY. Calvin had graciously gotten us tickets to an Alvin Ailey performance in Carnegie Hall. Margaret brought Eli into the city and we all had a wonderful, jovial lunch together. As I remember, Calvin was in food heaven ordering copious amounts of antipasto. Later, after the performance, we met some of the troupe backstage. It was clear how much they all loved Calvin, Margaret and Eli. It was wonderful to see. We will miss being with him in the future."

This tribute was added by Jennifer Murray on 29th December 2014

"Margaret - Karl and I send our deepest condolence.  I feel so badly that we were not aware of Calvin's passing.  My heart goes out to you, Eli and Brenna.  I will always remember Calvin's kind heart and most of all how much  happiness he seemed to bring to you."

This tribute was added by Amanda Postalakis on 25th December 2014

"Margaret, Calvin sure is an evolved human and an angel here on earth.  I say "is"- because I believe he is still with you.  What an amazing guy.  I am so happy that you had this time with him, that you have children with him, that you have friends with him.  What a blessing.  I am so happy for you that you got to experience this wonderful relationship.  You are a wonderful person and I have always admired you.  You two sure do compliment each other.  I can just imagine the laughter in your home and the laughter and joy in your life.  This is his greatest gift.  The joy he shared.  Carry him with you.  Always.  When my dad died, I told my soon-to-be father-in-law that I was sad that he never got to know my father.  His best words of advice and what I will always remember is him saying.  "Act like him, and we will know him."  So, I pass this on to you.  Share Calvin with the world- his humor, his silliness, his laughter, his peace. He is with you- always.   It's going to be okay, honey.  I wish you peace and love- tons of it.  Forever your friend, your college roommate, Mandy.  I love you."

This tribute was added by rachel potts on 19th December 2014

"While I never got to meet Calvin, I have had the immense joy of teaching Eli this year in kindergarten.  Watching this boy grow and thrive has inspired me beyond measure. Margaret is a strong and compassionate mother and I feel so grateful to play just a small part in this family's life.  Calvin, you have left a powerful and kind legacy."

This tribute was added by Thomas Cott on 19th December 2014

"There are people in this life who are takers, and there are people who are givers.  Calvin was a major Giver.  Soon after I arrived at Ailey in 2008 (as he did countless times before and after for so many others), Calvin gave me the once-over (and decided I was okay), he gave me a nickname ("The Professor"), and he gave me his friendship.  He and I are both men who regularly hug people, and we often greeted each other that way.  A hug from Calvin was like Christmas morning.

When I heard Calvin had passed, it seemed so inconceivable to me that I went into complete denial. It was not uncommon for him to be away from New York for a few weeks at a time. In my mind, he was just on tour with the Company but due back soon.  However, in May 2014 -- a month after Calvin passed -- at the memorial held at NY City Center, I finally confronted the reality.  Calvin and I had a tradition of standing together in the lobby of City Center at most performances during Ailey's annual December season there, greeting audience arrivals and gabbing to each other about everything under the sun (the people we saw, what was on the program that night, what was going on with our families, food, music, sports, our childhoods, you name it).  At the memorial --  standing alone in that lobby --  his absence hit me hard. I realized I would never get another chance to stand with him again and have our little private chats.  

Oh Calvin, you great, big, generous, loving, soulful, inspiring, tell-it-like-it-is, live-life-to-the-fullest man: thank you for your friendship and for welcoming me into your life.  I feel so honored that I got to be a small part of it, even for just a little while."

This tribute was added by Linda Carr on 2nd December 2014

"Calvin was big.    

He filled the space when he walked in.   That slow smile beamed everywhere.   His big voice growled low and always soothing.  

He was a big guy.  When he and Margaret shared their 6th floor walkup in Chelsea, he would pack his bicycle up those flights like a Tinker Toy.   And when Charles and I went out to a local Manhattan bistro one snowy winter night, I commented that Calvin’s long navy wool pea coat was twin to mine—but not quite, we saw after dinner:  as the attendants helped us into our coats, Calvin wrestled to thrust his arm into his sleeve, and then noticed that my sleeves were hanging over my hands and the hem was drooling on the floor.   We exchanged.

He was big in spirit.   When everyone had curled up for the night at 222, Calvin opened the doors of the teak shrine in the quiet living room and became part of something bigger.   While Eli ran his trains on the wooden tracks in the sunshine of that living room, whistling and squealing, we felt the presence of the shrine there in the corner—like Calvin’s strength, his bigness.

On the last evening I spent with Calvin, he was large in his concern for his little guys running in Charles’s front yard.  The two of us sat on the door steps while in the California twilight of late March, Eli and Brenna skipped from the water faucet, where they filled plastic watering cans, to the ginko tree and the society garlic plant, competing to be the most attentive gardener.   Calvin ruminated on how to restrain the exuberance of 2-year-old Brenna while celebrating her spirit.  

A week later his was in Berkeley, creating his annual barbeque to connect his beloved Alvin Ailey company to the Berkeley community.

It was big."

This tribute was added by J. Williams on 1st December 2014

"My condolence go out to the family of Calvin Hunt.  As I was reading about Calvin, I could tell that he was love and missed by family and friends.  When one loses a loved one in death it is very painful.  One way to find comfort is to turn to God's Word the Bible.  The Bible speaks about a time when we will be able to see our dear loved ones again.  This is by means of the resurrection hope.  John 5:28,29 says; "Do not be amazed at this.  The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.  Those who did good things to a resurrection to life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment".  The meaning of resurrection means a standing up again.  So that means they will be brought back to life to live again.  Revelation 21:4 says that death will be done away with.  So people will be able to live forever.  I hope you will find these scriptures comforting as I do.  If you have more questions that you would like answered.  Please go to the web site"

This tribute was added by Emily Hawkins on 30th November 2014

"Thinking about you always, Calvin.  Your presence is missed every day.  
Happy Belated Birthday.


"The Hawk""

This tribute was added by Cathy Lobel Kerner on 30th November 2014

"I, for one, will never forget when Calvin and Margaret came to dinner at our house in Stockbridge. James and Lorraine Abruzzo were there. And after a lot of barbecuing, somehow my husband Steven [5'6"] and Calvin started singing and dancing all over the livingroom while the rest of us were falling off our chairs, laughing until we were practically crying. What a night that was. And what great fun Calvin was. I miss him very much."

This tribute was added by Adrienne Cymbala on 30th November 2014

"Calvin was kind, funny, irreverent, and filled with loving kindness.  He had the most beautiful alter for his Buddhist practice that brought peace into the room.  It was an extension of him.  I feel lucky to have known him and be touched by his gifts."

This tribute was added by Laurie Tyree on 30th November 2014

"I met Calvin when he and Margaret came to tour our little school, Kinderenrichment to see if they might send Eli to us the following year. Calvin was quiet as i answered Margaret's questions. at one point Margaret spoke with Marianne for a bit, Calvin was looking at some of our student's artwork.
i was puzzled by this mountainous man. was he shy, reserved or uninterested? perhaps dragged along by the wife with his mind elsewhere?

then Calvin spoke to me. it felt like his words came from a very deep, loving place inside of him. i can only paraphrase. he spoke so eloquently and so sincerely. his words reflected his keen observation of the environment i had created, of the spirited artwork, colors and warmth. he interpreted what that said about me as a teacher and the love and commitment he saw.

What a gift!

after that, i felt a kinship with Calvin. i saw beyond the monumental reserve and dignified composure to who he really was. i felt a sense of delight and playfulness whenever i saw him. he was a beautiful, generous, sensitive man. i am so grateful to have known him."

This tribute was added by Geoff Stevens on 27th November 2014

"My memories of Calvin all seem to involve celebration, which is appropriate because he always struck me as a guy who relished life. I can still see him, kicking back at my wedding reception, Cuban in one hand (which he was DELIGHTED to find were available for sale just across the street, so he led a group of friends on an assault mission to clean the proprietor out), drink in another....taking in the zany goings-on all around him, his warm signature smile stretching from ear to ear. Calvin, you made the world a genuinely happier place. You are missed by many, but never forgotten."

This tribute was added by Robert Garland on 27th November 2014

"Calvin; from Juilliard, to Ballet Hispanico, to Dance Theatre of Harlem, to Abyssinian Baptist Church 200th Anniversary, you were what I could only call a brother to me. I miss you terribly, and God Bless your family, who I hope I will get to meet and know soon...much love my brother."

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This memorial is administered by:

Margaret Hunt


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