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Published: Tuesday, 1/22/2013

1925-2013

Sandusky Co. judge retiree was in navy WWII era

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Bruce Coyle Huffman. Bruce Coyle Huffman.
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FREMONT - Bruce Huffman, 87, a retired Sandusky County Common Pleas judge who practiced law for many years in Clyde, Ohio, died Friday in Countryside Continuing Care Center, Fremont.

Mr. Huffman, who had been a patient in the care center for about two weeks, died from complications of congestive heart failure and diabetes, said his son, John Huffman.

Mr. Huffman was a county court judge in Clyde from 1966 to 1970 and served as Common Pleas judge for 15 years.

After retiring in 1985, Judge Huffman was assigned by the Ohio Supreme Court to serve as visiting judge in Northwest Ohio counties, including Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

It was during Judge Huffman's capacity as a visiting judge that he became a mentor to Ronald Bowman, who, now, is a retired Lucas County Common Pleas judge.

Judge Bowman said he looked up to Judge Huffman as an experienced and knowledgeable jurist.

"He was a mentor of mind. He was just a brilliant judge and a wonderful person and a wonderful family man," Judge Bowman said.

Judge Bowman said he went to Mr. Huffman for advice on legal issues that were outside the areas of law that he practiced as an attorney before he became a common pleas judge.

He said Judge Huffman was fair, balanced, and had a gift for bringing together parties to resolve conflicts.

"He could think out difficult problems and come up with a solution that made so much sense and was fair to both sides," Judge Bowman said. "He just had a deep seeded ability to solve problems. He passed a lot of that on to me."

A native of Ashland, Ohio, he was born on July 30, 1925, to Coyle and Watha Huffman. His father was a lawyer. Mr. Huffman attended Ashland High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943 at age 17.

Mr. Huffman said his father entered into the Navy V-12 program, which enrolled cadets into colleges and universities to earn bachelor degrees. Mr. Huffman took classes at Oberlin College and Purdue University and was commissioned an officer in the Navy.

"He and some others were in training for the invasion of Japan, which never happened," Mr. Huffman said.

After the war, Mr. Huffman entered law school at Ohio State University. He received his license to practice law in the state in 1950.

Mr. Huffman married the former Madeline Scheerer on June 15, 1947. She died in September, 2010.

Mr. Huffman's grandson, Ian Huffman, was killed on July 16, 2010, in a crash in Ottawa County.

Mr. Huffman and his wife moved to Clyde, where she grew up. He practiced law and was recalled to active duty in 1951. He was stationed at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

He returned to Clyde after two years of service and established a practice with Clarence Homan. He served as Clyde's legal adviser from 1954 to 1967.

He was appointed to a vacancy in county court in 1966. He was later appointed to a vacancy in Sandusky County Common Pleas and was subsequently elected twice to the judgeship.

Surviving are his son, John Huffman; daughter, Patricia Sue Nefores; brother John Huffman, sister, Jean Louise Huffman, and two grandsons.

Visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday in Mitchell-Auxter Funeral Home, Clyde.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday in First United Methodist Church in Clyde.

The family asks that tributes be to the Clyde First United Methodist Church or to a charity of the donor's choice.



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