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Obituary: Anne Milburn Huff '43

Anne Milburn Huff (Antioch 1943) passed away peacefully in her home in Oakland, California, on Saturday, June 25, 2011. She was 90-years old.

Anne is survived by her husband, Martin Huff (Antioch class of1945); brother, Richard Milburn; sons, Roger Huff (Antioch class of 1969; spouse Katherine Propper Huff, Antioch class of 1967) and Douglas Huff; daughter, Susan Wagner; and grandsons, Morgan Wagner, Trevor Wagner, and Owen Huff.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, on November 11, 1920, Anne grew up in a Quaker family. After graduating from Barringer High School, she attended Traphagen School of Fashion, later transferring to Earlham College, and then to Antioch College. At Antioch she met her future husband, Martin Huff, who, on the first day of class in an overcrowded classroom, offered her his chair. She earned a bachelor’s in journalism and sociology from Antioch in 1943.

In 1944 she and Martin married and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Martin enrolled in the U.S. Maritime Service’s Officers’ Candidate School. Like her mother and grandmother (both suffragettes), Anne was always politically active, especially on behalf of peace, the environment, and women’s right to choose. A pacifist during WWII, Anne worked in a cannery in Oakland, became an active union member, and traveled to the White House to picket in support of bringing the soldiers home. She campaigned for the Democratic Party in the San Francisco Bay Area and her three children fondly remember her registering voters and helping her stuff envelopes and distribute political fliers.

In 1963 the family moved to Sacramento where Anne served as Executive Director of its fledgling Planned Parenthood chapter. This led to a masters in social work from California State University, Sacramento in 1972, followed by a career in social work: first with the American Red Cross Services to Military Families Program, and for 17 years with the California Department of Social Services in licensing, continuing care, and adoptions. In social work, she found that the challenges and satisfactions outweighed the inevitable frustrations.

A lifelong member of the Sierra Club, Anne especially loved Point Reyes and Mount Tamalpais, and the family visited these places and many others for weekend camping and hiking trips. When asked about regrets, Anne wished she had begun hiking earlier in life. When asked about missed opportunities, however, Anne would say, “There is always opportunity.”

Anne was an accomplished artist. She never left the house without a sketchbook in hand, and she illustrated the Huff Annual Letter with whimsical drawings of Martin and the kids engaged in activities that took place during the year.

Anne traveled extensively in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia, including a Quaker-sponsored peace trip to Russia in 1988. Anne and Martin celebrated many wedding anniversaries with trips that referenced the year, and for their 49th anniversary they drove the entire length of California State Highway 49. Travel during Anne’s last year included a three-day cruise through the Great Lakes from Duluth to Toronto, an arduous hike to the top of the CN Tower, followed by a long drive to Boston with her son Douglas to visit her brother Rick.

A Memorial Service will take place at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, July 12th, in the Oakmont Skyroom (11th floor) at Piedmont Gardens, 110 - 41st Street, Oakland CA 94611. Telephone: (510) 597-6700.