If the words of a country song could be used to describe how someone looked at life, the Billy Currington song “God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy” would be the one to use for our husband, dad, grandpa and good friend Charlie Huggins, who died April 23, 2017 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Port St. Joe, Florida, following an extended illness.
Charlie was born Charles Edward Huggins on April 11, 1938 in Georgetown, S.C., the only child of Rufus and Elizabeth Huggins. He graduated Winyah High School in 1958, and then enlisted in the United States Air Force. Charlie served four years in places such as Goose Bay, Labrador and MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL.
Following his discharge from the Air Force in 1962, Charlie moved to Tallahassee and began a long career with the Department of Education. He held numerous positions within the agency before his retirement in 2000 after a 38-year span.
On March 23, 1974, Charlie married the former Shirley McLellan from Zephyrhills, FL. For the next 43 years, it was rare to find one without the other.
Charlie was a great outdoorsman, and he loved all manner of hunting and fishing. He could frequently be found on the golf course with his buddies and of course, cheering on the Seminoles during football season. He found himself slowly sidelined from all his favorite pastimes after his diagnosis with myelodysplastic syndrome in 2010.
Charlie’s love for the beach was well-known, and St. Joe Beach captured his heart after he and Shirley spent their honeymoon there in 1974. They bought some property, built a little house and spent many weeks and weekends there over the years. In 2004, Charlie and Shirley moved permanently to St. Joe Beach, and became well-loved members of both the St. Joe Beach and Port St. Joe communities. Their back porch was home to many gatherings with family, friends and neighbors. Charlie was always ready for a party, and he always had a cooler of cold beer ready for whoever came to visit.
Charlie is survived by his wife of 43 years Shirley McLellan Huggins, son Chip Huggins (and wife Sally), daughter LuAnn Huggins, and grandchildren, Matthew, Meredith, Claire and Sean Huggins, all of Tallahassee.
A celebration of Charlie’s life will be held on Saturday, May 6 at 11:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Port St. Joe. At his request, his ashes will be spread at a later date in the Gulf of Mexico.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial contributions to be made to the Building Fund of First United Methodist Church in Port St. Joe, P.O. Box 266, Port St. Joe, FL 32456.