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Col. David W. Huff

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Col. David W. Huff Obituary
Col. David W. Huff

PARIS IL: David Webster Huff passed away at his home in Paris, Illinois, at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 26, 2013. Col. Huff was born March 10, 1927, in Jasonville, Indiana, the son of Richard McKinley Huff and Ethel Keers Huff.

He married the former Agnes Stultz in 1951 and she preceded him in death. He was also preceded by his parents and two brothers, Richard Huff Jr. and Thomas D. Huff.

Col. Huff married Kay Poff of Newark, Ohio, and she survives, along with their son, Joshua David Huff of Paris, Illinois; other survivors include Tom and Terry Willett of Paris, Illinois, and their families, William Willett of Belleville, Illinois, and his family, as well as many nieces and nephews, extended family, and a host of friends.

Col. Huff was a graduate of West Point and earned his Master's Degree from Purdue University.

As a longtime member of Rotary International, Col. Huff elected to transfer his membership to the Paris, Illinois Rotary Club. Upon recognizing his leadership abilities, he was soon tapped to be a Rotary Club Officer, serving as president from 1999-2000. Prior to moving to Paris, he served mutable terms as a successful Chairman of the United Way while Commander of Newark Air Force Base in Newark, Ohio. As a lifelong United Methodist, he sought out the Methodist Church at his various assigned Air Force bases. Again, his leadership was utilized by holding just about every office within the church. In Paris, he chose to enter into an in-depth Bible Study and later accepted a directorship of the Sutton Discipleship Bible Study Training Center located in Paris. Col. Huff was known for his quiet wisdom and deep humility. His love of flying was evident, which made it easy for other pilots to engage him in conversation. As an avid reader, he was well-versed on a myriad of subjects. It has been said that he will be well-remembered because at every post or community where he lived or worked, people enjoyed his quiet presence. In addition, his intellect, humility, and keen sense of humor were traits well admired. As one of Dave's West Point Classmates stated, "Dave will be remembered as a friend by all who knew him. A humble man who never boasted about his military awards and accomplishments, though there were many, among them the Bronze Star awarded for distinguished heroism against an enemy, and two Meritorious Service Medals for conspicuously meritorious performance of duty. He was a respected leader at the Point and a leader in life."

Whoever met him remembered him, and whoever he met was the better for it. That was David Huff – a man to be admired and respected; an example of what a loyal and true husband, father, and friend should be. He was a moral man with unquestionable integrity and principals – a Godly man in word and deed; a man who will truly be missed by family and friends. He will be remembered by all for being a gentle and caring man; a man that was a respecter of people and had a solid understanding of what is important in life.

All services will be private. Interment will be private in Lebanon Cemetery in Midland, Indiana, at a later date.

For those who wish, the family suggests that memorials be made to Sutton Discipleship Bible Training Center or to Lincolnland Hospice, both in care of Templeton Funeral Home, 600 E. Court St., Paris, IL 61944.

Col Huff's distinguished military career was fostered after seeing a recruiting ad that appeared just inside the front cover of The Saturday Evening Post in the early 1940s. The ad featured a stalwart young aviator in flight gear wearing a soft helmet with goggles positioned ever-so-perfectly above the eyebrows. He was carrying a parachute by its straps, and there may even have been a white scarf. Above this ad was the wild blue yonder and the aviator was gazing at it with quiet, dedicated intensity. Somewhere on the page in large bold letters was this irresistible announcement: "Men of 17 – You, Too, Can Wear a Pair of Silver Wings!"

The ad worked for Dave. He was captivated, because five months after his seventeenth birthday in March of 1944, he talked his dad into signing the papers. After being tested in a wide variety of ways, he soon became a genuine certified aviation cadet. As Dave has said, "For a lot of good it did me – other braver men had WWII so nearly won that the need for additional air crews dropped to virtually zero, and the aviation program was reduced to almost nothing." He entered active service as an Army Air Corps Private. A year later, recognizing his leadership ability, the Army appointed then Private Huff to the United States Military Academy.

After graduation, Dave was sent immediately to pilot training at Hondo Air Force Base Texas for base flight training, then on to advanced flight training at Reese Air Force Base. His career spanned over three decades of honorable, brave, and exemplary service to his country. A partial list of aircraft that he was checked out in include the B-25, B-29, KC-97, KB-50, and B-52 heavy bombers, and KC-135 tankers. The majority of his assignments were with the Strategic Air Command. Col. Huff flew combat missions throughout the Korean War and served two tours in Viet Nam, at the same time serving with the B-52/KC-135 Bomb Wing Advisory Staff at SAC Viet Nam Air Force Advisory Group Headquarters. Again realizing his leadership ability, Col. Huff was assigned as Commander of the ROTC Program at Indiana University. Achieving the goals set forth, his next assignment found him Commander of a high tech installation Aerospace Guidance and Metrology Center. He was then on to his final assignment as Commander of a top-secret Logistics Command Center, the mission being updating ICBM Guidance Systems and Inertial Navigation Systems for fighter aircraft (both USAF and Marine) and for submarines.

Following retirement from the Air Force, Col. Huff worked a short while in banking, but his talents were again discovered. This time, he was sought by the highly-respected Northrop Aerospace (now Northrop Grumman) Aircraft located in Los Angeles where he spent five years, and with Northrop in Chicago also about five years. While with Northrop, Colonel Huff aided in the development of some of this nation's most deadly air defenses, including the now well-known and famous B-2 Stealth Bomber.

Col. Huff moved to Paris, Illinois, in 1991 where his wife and son continue to reside.

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Published in the The Advocate on Mar. 1, 2013
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