Charles Newel "Chuck" Huggins

Charles Newel Huggins (Chuck) died peacefully on August 19, 2012 at his home in Larkspur, California with his wife Donna and family members by his side. Before his unexpected passing, Chuck's last days were happy and fun-filled - listening to jazz, bird watching, taking walks, and playing with his beloved cats.
Known to everyone as Chuck, he was the long time President and CEO of See's Candies. He was a devoted family man, loving husband, community leader, gentleman, jazz aficionado, lover of nature and animals, and a generous philanthropist who touched thousands of people through his wisdom, generosity and humor.
Born in 1925 in Vancouver, British Columbia to American parents Charles and Ruth Huggins, he was raised in Portland, Oregon. In WWII Chuck served as an Army Paratrooper with the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment and saw action throughout Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge.
He was a graduate of Kenyon College (Ohio).
In 1951 he and his late wife Marian (Mime) settled in Menlo Park, California. He soon began a 55-year relationship with See's Candies, spending time in both Northern and Southern California. In 1972 Chuck was instrumental in the sale of the company to the Berkshire Hathaway Company. Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger immediately appointed Chuck President and CEO - Warren has said it took them about 15 seconds to choose Chuck for the job, and in later years wondered why it took so long! Under Chuck's leadership See's grew to more than 5,000 employees, 200 plus stores, and revenues over $300 million. Chuck enthusiastically developed many candies and by some calculations he consumed over 300,000 pieces in his lifetime! Some favorites included marzipan, candied ginger and butter chews. He retired in 2006 at the age of 81.
Chuck applied charm and intellect to all aspects of his life. Everyone loved him. His philanthropy was legendary and recipients of his largesse are simply too numerous to list.
His happy 48-years with "Mime" produced four children: Pete, Anne, Shelley and Chip. They spent many joyful years together in Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, and Los Angeles. He adored his nine grandchildren and was eagerly awaiting the birth of his first grandchild.
After Mime's death, Chuck married Donna Ewald, a native San Franciscan. They had fifteen wonderful years together sharing many interests including a love of music, travel, animals, conservation, history and philanthropy. They spent a lot of time laughing, singing and generally loving life. Chuck liked to say they had "serious fun."
Chuck loved music and was an accomplished singer and drummer. He was known to take a stage spontaneously and his rendition of Hello Central, Give Me Doctor Jazz always brought down the house. Favorite performers included Eddie Condon, Turk Murphy's Jazz Band, The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Schulz and the Frisco Jazz Band, Dick Hyman and his idol, Louis Armstrong. Turk Murphy and Jim Cullum were among his closest friends. Chuck had fun helping support, create and produce jazz radio shows and music festivals. A member of the Bohemian Club he enjoyed his annual treks to Owl's Nest Camp at the Bohemian Grove.
Besides his wife Donna, he is survived by his sister Ruth, son Peter Huggins and his wife Sue and their four children Evan, Ryan, Tye and Dia; son Charles "Chip" Huggins and his wife Pam and their children Anna Morris (Matt), Chuck and Mimi; daughter Anne Huggins Walton and her husband Bart; and daughter Shelley Huggins Dutton and her husband Peter and their children Ella Campbell (Alex) and Taylor.
There will never be another like him.
Following Chuck's example, be kind to someone everyday and make it a "Wonderful World" in his memory.
Interment will be private. A benefit jazz concert in his honor will take place at a later date. Email to be notified.

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 26, 2012