Allan Armstrong Hunter was born in 1893 in Toronto, Canada, the youngest of four children. He came to the United States at the age of eight, where his family first lived in Colorado before settling in Riverside, California.
Hunter received his A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1916 and then taught for two years in Egypt at Assiut Mission College. Between 1917 and 1918 he was a YMCA secretary with the British on the Sinai Desert, and then part of the Palestine unit of the Red Cross during World War I. After the Armistice, Hunter helped direct a large German orphanage in Jerusalem. He spent several years traveling and studying in India, China, Korea, and Japan-- experiences that would deepen his understanding of human values the world around and convince him of the waste and futility of war.
In 1923, Hunter married Elizabeth Sterling, the daughter of minister Dr. Hugh K. Walker. Around that same time he graduated from the Union Theological Seminary in New York and then was ordained a Presbyterian minister and became pastor of Union Church in Palisade, New Jersey. In 1925 Hunter received his A.M. from Columbia, and then spent time in China with his wife doing peace work and teaching at the National Normal University.
It was in 1926 that Hunter began a long and notable ministry at Mt. Hollywood Congregational Church in Los Angeles, succeeding Dr. Edwin P. Ryland, former president of the ACLU--Southern California branch. Through his involvement with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Disciplined Order of Christ, and his many social justice activities, he met and befriended many internationally known church leaders, humanitarians, and social activists such as Toyohiko Kagawa, Doris and Muriel Lester, Kirby Page, Norman Cousins, Linus Pauling, Richard Neutra, John Anson Ford, and Aldous Huxley.
A long-time ACLU board member, Hunter was concerned with the constitutional rights of minorities. During and after World War II, Hunter testified on behalf of the Japanese-Americans who were sent to concentration camps, visiting Manzanar often. Other topics that Hunter focussed on through his sermons, publications, and activities included world peace, marriage, birth control (having seen the effects of overpopulation in China and India), labor rights, civil liberties, etc.
Allan and Elizabeth Hunter had two children-- Betsy and Allan, Jr. Reverend Allan Hunter died in 1982, ten years after his wife Elizabeth. They are buried in Riverside, California where the Reverend's tombstone is inscribed "Christian Life Dedicated to Peace.".