Letter to the Editor: Wendy Hunt (1952-2017), Disc Jockey

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With broken hearts, we share with you that Wendy Hunt - known in her beloved world of music as DJ Wendy Hunt, Wendella Blendella, or Queen Mother of DJ’s - left this world August 7, 2017.  

Wendy was born September 8, 1952 near Los Angeles, California. In her teens she re-located to Marblehead, Massachusetts. Raised in a creative and chaotic home, her ear for music was trained early on, as were her survival skills. Escaping family violence at age 17, Wendy lived with friends and supported herself while completing high school. She then worked her way through Northeastern University’s Physical Education program, later switching to the Nursing Program. Wendy’s passion for music outshone these teachings.

Wendy came out as a gay woman in her teens and found community in Boston gay bars, particularly the 1270. She was mesmerized by the music and mixes of the late DJ Jimmy Stuard, who mentored Wendy in his craft. Jimmy encouraged his ardent student to become a DJ. Her first club gig was in 1974 on the first floor of the 1270, playing Wednesday nights. Throughout her career, Wendy “paid forward” Jimmy’s generous mentoring by supporting peers and up-and-coming DJ’s with her knowledge and expertise.

Wendy helped inaugurate gay nights (Sundays) at 15 Landsdowne - later known as BostonBoston, Metro, and Avalon – the largest dance club in New England in that era. She DJ’d at a variety of gay and lesbian bars in Boston ‘till the early 90’s, when she fulfilled a dream by moving to Provincetown. Wendy played several venues in P’town; her favorite was Boatslip Tea Dance. She left Provincetown in 2003, though the town and community never left her heart.

Wendy was an orchestrator of ecstatic movement at Circuit events like Miami Winter and White Parties, White Party Palm Springs, Purple Party Dallas, Ascension Party Fire Island Pines, Valley of the Dolls in Dallas, and many others. Wendy played gigs across the mainland and from Honolulu to London. She rocked the oceans on RSVP cruises. Wendy was proud to spin fundraising gigs supporting services for People Living With AIDS. She shared credits on the celebrated Pride 2000 Centaur CD with fellow DJ Julian Marsh. In 2007, Wendy and DJ Warren Gluck united to produce White Party Miami’s signature album, also on Centaur.

Recently, Wendy was delighted to have been invited to play at Hunter’s in Fort Lauderdale, and on the airwaves at 102.7 “The Beach”. Wendy’s final, yet-to-be-released mix will be aired on her birthday – Friday, September 8, at 12:00 noon EST – http://www.thebeachmiami.com/

Wendy wove rhythms seamlessly between songs, to the delight of those on her dance floors. Particularly in the days of vinyl records on turntables, when a DJ’s hands were artisan’s hands, Wendy’s mixes were art in motion. Her blends were consummate. Her choice of music was trained to her crowd. Wendy did not play music simply for personal edification – she played to and for the people on her dance floor. Wendy’s gigs were collaborative, transcendent experiences.

An ardent volunteer for Lab Rescue of Florida and lover of her own adored dogs, Wendy gave as much as she received.  Wendy offered a foster home for Labs, many of whom were seniors and/or in dire health.  She nursed and loved them back to health with the help of her own dogs (Clarice, Brady, and later Idgie), then graciously released them to approved homes.  Wendy also had a decided knack for matchmaking rescued Labs with ideal adopters.  On both coasts of Florida, Wendy devoted herself to the welfare of dogs in need.

Wendy was a fierce, tenderhearted, generous-spirited, immensely creative woman with as many vulnerabilities as strengths. In 1999, she survived breast cancer and rigorous treatment, thereafter living with marked peripheral neuropathy in both feet – notably diminishing her mobility. Nonetheless, Wendy participated in a Race For The Cure fundraiser shortly after completing cancer treatment, and in 2000 completed the 3-day, 300 mile Boston–New York AIDS Ride.

Behind the public eye, away from the flashing lights and glitter, there was another side of Wendy, a more complex one that often saw her walk a delicate balance between living and dying.

In and out of recovery from cocaine and alcohol addictions, wrestling with the rigors of bi-polar disorder and untreated post-traumatic stress, and – more recently – increasingly encumbered by progressive neurocognitive deficits, Wendy did what was within her power to wake up each morning and see the day through with a combination of grace, grit, and grapple. 

Wearied and worn by these challenges (some she shared publicly, though most she endured privately), Wendy ended her life.

May Wendy’s bright and beautiful smile, radiant presence, generous spirit, and love of others continue to shine in all our lives. Please hold Wendy with a song in your hearts. 

Wendy is survived by her sister, Kavita Heidi Hunt and spouse Cheryl D. Harrell of Massachusetts, half-sister Diane Paul and husband Ron of Florida, her beloved dog Idgie (now living with Brad, Bruce, and Mimi of Wilton Manors FL), countless friends, loved ones, colleagues, music lovers, dancers, flaggers, Bears, and every Labrador Retriever whose path Wendy ever crossed. She was predeceased by her father, Donald Edgar Hunt, and her mother, Yvonne Edwina Riddle, and her former partner Rose Hanlon.

Memorial celebrations of Wendy’s life are being planned in Boston, Provincetown, Fort Lauderdale, and elsewhere. Dates and details to be determined, and will be posted on a Facebook page: In Celebration of DJ Wendy Hunt.

We are deeply grateful to the Wilton Manors Police Department, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Westway Towing, and Ed Kalis of Edwards Cremation and Funeral Services for their remarkable kindness, care, and understanding.  

Contributions in Wendy’s memory may be made to Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida:

http://lrrof.org/donate/make-a-donation/make-an-in-memory-donation/

Love never ends

We’ll always be together

However far it seems

We’ll always be together

Together in electric dreams

- Philip Oakley 


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