Caseworker slain at Delco hospital was 'Mother Theresa' to some

JOSEPH KACZMAREK / FOR THE DAILY NEWS Mourners gather yesterday in Havertown for a memorial service for Theresa Hunt, who was killed last week in a shooting at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital's wellness center in Delaware County.
JOSEPH KACZMAREK / FOR THE DAILY NEWS Mourners gather yesterday in Havertown for a memorial service for Theresa Hunt, who was killed last week in a shooting at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital's wellness center in Delaware County.
Posted: August 01, 2014

GUN-CONTROL groups regard last week's shooting at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital as another case of a violent wacko who shouldn't have had a firearm, yet owned three.

For the National Rifle Association, it's about the "good guy with a gun" - a quick-thinking doctor who likely prevented a mass murder by shooting the "bad guy" before he could reach into his pocket to reload.

But last night, it was just about Theresa Hunt, the quirky caseworker who didn't survive.

Hunt, 53, was one of nine children. Raised on a dairy farm, she moved to Philadelphia because "she wasn't interested in marrying some farmer," said David Braneky, pastor of Baptist Church of West Chester.

She spent most of her adult life helping others - from troubled teens to Richard Plotts, the scumbag felon who allegedly shot her to death last Thursday inside the Delaware County hospital's wellness center.

More than 50 people attended Hunt's memorial service at a Havertown funeral home, recalling how the woman whom some called "Mother Theresa" could be mad one minute, then making you laugh so hard you cried the next.

Hunt's brother Dennis said they'd once settled a minor spat in his kitchen by spontaneously grabbing wooden spoons and singing along to the oldies. He couldn't remember the song, but it didn't matter.

"That's one of the best memories I have of her," he said.

Hunt lived alone in the city's Kensington section. She was private and selfless, a rare combination in a narcissistic world. Her blue-collar sense of humor made her a natural in social work.

She talked trash about bingo, kept up with "Duck Dynasty" and was eerily proficient at tackling paperwork. She owned all seasons of "The Golden Girls." When people asked why she wasn't married with children, she'd scoff.

" 'I don't need to have kids,' " Braneky quoted her as saying. " 'I have plenty of them already.' "

She meant her clients.

Police said Hunt was shot twice by Plotts, 49, when he arrived early for his appointment with Dr. Lee Silverman, his longtime psychiatrist at Mercy Fitzgerald, just over the Southwest Philadelphia border. Silverman, 52, then grabbed his own gun and shot Plotts, authorities said. The doctor suffered graze wounds to his thumb and forehead when Plotts returned fire, cops said.

Detectives later found two other handguns inside Plotts' Clifton Heights apartment. He was arraigned Saturday night on murder and attempted-murder charges in his bed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and was in fair condition yesterday.

Hunt's family and friends passed around tissues and dabbed at their eyes last night when Braneky played a CD of one of Hunt's favorite songs, "Fire and Rain."

"Just as James Taylor always thought he'd see his friend again," Braneky said, "we thought we'd see Theresa again."


On Twitter: @wbender99

Blog: ph.ly/DailyDelco

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