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Long-time See’s Candy head dies

Chuck Huggins passes away at 87

August 29, 2012
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Charles "Chuck" Huggins tastes a chocolate at See's Candies. Huggins died Aug. 19 at 87 years old. Photo provided by See's Candies.

By all accounts, Charles “Chuck” Huggins led a pretty sweet life. While serving as president and ceo of See’s Candies, he grew the company to more than 5,000 employees, more than 200 stores and more than $300 million in revenue.

He also ate more than 300,000 pieces of candy.

Charles “Chuck” Huggins died unexpectedly Aug. 19 at his home in Larkspur, Calif. He was 87. He had retired from his role as long-time president and ceo of See’s Candies in 2006 at 81.

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 eventually went on to graduate from Kenyon College in Ohio.

In 1951, he and his late wife Marian “Mime” settled in Menlo Park, Calif.

Huggins soon began a 55-year relationship with See's Candies, spending time in both Northern and Southern California.

In 1972, he was instrumental in the sale of the company to the Berkshire Hathaway Co. Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger immediately appointed Chuck as president and ceo.

Buffett has said it took them about 15 seconds to choose Chuck for the job, and in later years wondered why it took so long.

His family says Huggins applied charm and intellect to all aspects of his life and everyone loved him. He also had a heart for philanthropy, and the recipients of his largesse are too numerous to list.

While married to “Mime” for 48-years, the two had four children: Pete, Anne, Shelley and Chip. He also adored his nine grandchildren and was eagerly awaiting the birth of his first great-grandchild.

After Mime's death, Chuck married Donna Ewald. They had 15 years together sharing many interests including a love of music, travel, animals, conservation, history and philanthropy. Huggins liked to say they had "serious fun."

Huggins also 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 Jazzalways brought down the house.

Chuck had fun helping support, create and produce jazz radio shows and music festivals. A member of the Bohemian Club, he also 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.

Following Chuck's example, the family asks only that one 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 cnhlovesjazz@gmail.comto be notified.

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