Charles "Chuck" Huggins, community leader and CEO of See's Candies, dies | August 29, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - August 29, 2012

Charles "Chuck" Huggins, community leader and CEO of See's Candies, dies

A jazz concert, to be announced later, will honor Charles "Chuck" Newel Huggins, formerly of Woodside and Menlo Park, who died Aug. 19 at his home in Larkspur. He was 87.

Mr. Huggins was best known as the president and CEO of See's Candies Inc. He worked for the company for 55 years, starting in 1951 as a manager in the packing department. He held various positions in the company until 1972, when the See family sold the company to Warren Buffett, chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway group. One of the first decisions Mr. Buffet made was to appoint Mr. Huggins president and CEO, say family members.

Under Mr. Huggins' leadership, See's grew to more than 5,000 employees and 200-plus stores. He was responsible for developing dozens of candies, such as the Awesome bars, and saving others from retirement, including the famous "marshmints." He is estimated to have sampled 300,000 pieces of candy during his career, say family members. He retired in 2006.

Locally, Mr. Huggins was well known for his long association with the historic Filoli Center in Woodside. A past president and member of the governing board of the Filoli Foundation, he headed the capital campaign to complete seismic retrofitting of the Main House and build the Visitor Education Center. He also started the concert series Jazz at Filoli.

Mr. Huggins was an accomplished drummer and singer, performing with his good friend, the late Tom Ford, in his band called T Ford and the Model A's, playing at charitable events in the Bay Area and even touring Europe.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Mr. Huggins grew up in Portland, Oregon, and was active in the Boy Scouts. When he was 12, he took a four-month tour around the world on a steamship with his grandparents.

He served as a paratrooper in World War II with the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division. After graduating from Kenyon College, he moved to Menlo Park in 1951 with his wife, Marian, known as Mime. During their 48-year marriage, they had four children, and lived in Menlo Park, Atherton, and Woodside. She preceded him in death.

A civic leader and philanthropist, Mr. Huggins supported many nonprofits and arts organizations, including Family Service Agency of San Mateo County, Boy Scouts of America, the Children's Health Council, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation, and Music in the Schools Today. He was also benefactor to many public and private schools, as well as to animal and marine mammal centers.

Mr. Huggins is survived by his wife of 15 years, Donna Ewald Huggins; sister Ruth Slack of Beaverton, Oregon; children Peter Huggins of Fairfield, Iowa, Charles "Chip" Huggins of Emerald Hills, and Anne Huggins Walton and Shelley Huggins Dutton of Portland; and nine grandchildren.

The family requests that gifts in Mr. Huggins' name be made to "any charities that were close to his heart" or a charity of the donor's choice. To be notified of the jazz concert, e-mail


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