Caroline Rose Hunt was definitely not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. According to her older sister Margaret Hunt Hill*, “When Caroline was born, on January 8, 1923, we borrowed a laundry basket from the people downstairs, the T.P. Marks family, who had the Ford automobile agency, and that was Caroline’s crib.”
That was when her parents Lyda Bunker Hunt and H.L. Hunt were living in El Dorado and before the name Hunt became legendary.
Decades later, Caroline would be responsible for creating the world-famous Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, where world leaders and Oscar-winning celebrities would sleep in the finest accommodations.
Despite the champagne world of her empire, Caroline didn’t let it go to her head. In fact she was notorious for being thrifty. So the story goes that one time Caroline was flying to the opening of one of her hotels and, in keeping with her standard operating procedure, she flew tourist class. She was more than surprised to see one of her company executives seated in first class.
According to Margaret, “Caroline is the tightest.” As proof, her big sister told about the time that H.L. “implored me, ‘Please go buy Caroline some clothes. She is just so tight she will not buy anything.’ So I went to Neiman’s and bought some things for her, among them a good-looking black wool designer dress. Last year there was a party at the Crescent Club at the Crescent Court, a $400 million hotel, office and retail complex that Caroline developed and owns. She had chaired a benefit for ‘Dallas Cares,’ an AIDs benefit, and she turned up at this cocktail party in the black wool dress that I had bought for Daddy to give her all those year ago. I heard several people telling her how terrific, how fabulous, this dress was, and she said, ‘Oh, it’s an old dress,’ and I thought, “Old? It’s an antique!”
And while many will associate her founding Rosewood, the Crescent Court complex and the Lady Primrose line of toiletries, authoring “The compleat Pumpkin Eater” cookbook and her countless awards and philanthropic endeavors (Dallas CASA, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Dallas Children’s Theater, Crystal Charity Ball, Retina Foundation of the Southwest and many others) her priority from start to finish was her family.
She was raised with sister Margaret and four brothers (Hassie Hunt, Nelson Bunker Hunt, William Herbert Hunt and Lamar Hunt) during the Depression and oil boom eras. Caroline admitted, “They were permissive parents. But they did not allow unpleasantness. You would not argue at the table. I was only spanked once by my father. For that. It was just a love tap. But it hurt my feelings.”
Following her graduation from the University of Texas, she married U.S. Navy pilot Loyd Sands and undertook her proudest project as a mother. As Margaret described Caroline, she “cooked and kept house herself and tended her children (John Bunker Sands, David Keith Sands, Stephan Hunt Sands, Laurie Sands Harrison and Patrick Brian Sands).”
To her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, she was known as “Mom” and “Moozie.”
On Wednesday, October 31, Caroline suffered a stroke and spent the final days of her life surrounded by her family until her death tonight.
In a touching piece of irony, Caroline’s mother also died of a stroke. Before her death, Lyda told Caroline, “It’s hard to get into this world, and it’s hard to get out.”
Caroline recalled, “I felt she was ready to die. Which was a tragedy for all those around her, because she was the one who had kept the family together.”
So the same can, and will be, said of Caroline Rose Hunt.
* From "H.L. and Lyda, Growing Up in the H.L. Hunt and Lyda Bunker Hunt Family as Told by Their Eldest Daughter"