Dr. Jacob B. Huffman passed away Thursday, June 5th, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida at the age of 94.
He was born July 21, 1919 on a farm near Maggie, VA. He attended schools in Roanoke, VA. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (now Va. Tech) with a BS degree in Conservation and Forestry in 1941, after which he spent five years in the US Army during WWII. In 1947 he received a Master’s degree and in 1953 his Doctorate from Duke University. Early work included working for a Tidewater Plywood Company in Brunswick, GA, where he met his loving wife of almost 60 years, Dorothy Kammerer Huffman. He also taught for one year at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.
In 1952 he joined the UF School of Forestry as Assistant Professor of Forest Products Utilization where he taught undergraduate and graduate level courses and was involved in numerous research projects. He wrote more than 55 publications, was a member of several professional societies, and attended more than 60 professional conferences. He was a Registered Forester, and served as Student Recruiter and Advisor working with 29 community colleges in Florida. For over 35 years he was in charge of the Wood Preservation Test Area at the Austin Cary Memorial Forest, established in 1938 and internationally recognized as one of the three most important field test sites in the U.S. In 1982 he was promoted to full professor at UF. For many years he served a large number of clients of his Wood Consulting Services business.
During the World War II he served as a training officer in the Coast Artillery Corps, attended the Army Command and General Staff School in Kansas, and served in the Pacific theatre under several commands including the Navy as Operations, Liaison and Personnel Officer. He spent time in Hawaii, on the island of Pelelieu (now Palau) and in the Marshall Islands where he inspected defense plans and operations as part of an Admiral’s staff. He was honorably discharged in 1946 at the rank of Major.
He married “Dot” in 1948, which he considered his greatest achievement. She predeceased him in 2007. Survivors include sons, Blair M. Huffman (Orange Park), Gregory L. Huffman of Sarasota (daughter-in-law Mary Terese Finnegan, and two grandsons Brent W. and Grant E. Huffman, and many nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held at Trinity Chapel (Trinity United Methodist Church), 4000 NW 53rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL, Saturday, June 14th at 11 a.m. with a reception following at the Church’s Youth Center. Senior Minister, Rev. Dr. Dan Johnson, will officiate. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to either Haven Hospice – E. T. York Hospice Care Center, 4200 NW 90th Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32606, or the Alachua County Humane Society, 4205 NW 6th St., Gainesville, FL, 32609.
Even thought I never met Mr. Huffman, we share a common ancestor, Andrew Hoffman (Huffman) who was born in Germany circa 1720 and settled in Botetourt Co. VA circa 1783. Jake was very helpful to my brother Danny and I while we were researching. I know his vast knowledge of his heritage has been passed down to his sons. My condolences to all of the family.