Steve Hunter is leaving. He’s leaving his job as manager of the Enterprise Safeway store.

After 16-plus years, Hunter’s last day is Thursday, Jan. 30.

Hunter came here directly from a Safeway manager trainee program in Portland.

“I was born in Pendleton. They said, ‘You want to go to Enterprise?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’ ”

He said three people are in the running for his job, including store Assistant Manager Katie Wightman. Safeway plans to make the announcement Friday, Jan. 31.

Hunter said he has no idea who the company will pick.

“I like Katie,” he said. “I think she’d do a good job. She knows the county.”

Hunter said once he retires, he and Cathy, his wife of 29 years, will stay here for the summer and travel. Then, they’ll serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the church caretakers of a girls camp at Catherine Creek outside of Union. After that will come another LDS mission. The Hunters have two sons and four daughters.

As for living in Wallowa County, Hunter spoke highly of it.

“It has beautiful scenery, the pace and the people” are among his favorites.

The job has been good, too.

“It’s always been a challenge,” he said. “Safeway’s been good to me and they’ve taken care of me and my family quite well.”

Jennifer Ballard, Safeway’s dairy manager, spoke highly of Hunter.

“Don’t tell him, but we’ll miss him,” she said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do without him.”

She said replacing him will be tough.

“I told his boss that he’d better get a real superman in here,” Ballard said.

Hunter seems ready to move on with his life.

“It’s been a great career here,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to the next phase in my life.”

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