Gordon Seth “Tim” Huffman Jr., beloved husband to Miriam Schreck, father to Todd and Kevin (Amy), grandfather to Starr, Olivia, Asher, and Everett, died on March 11, 2023, at his home in Newark, Ohio, surrounded by immediate family, relatives, and close friends.
Ordained to the ministry in the American Lutheran Church in 1972, he lived a life of service with a deep commitment to justice. Beyond a lifetime of global travels and work, Tim always said his most important role and greatest strength was being a caregiver – early in life for his younger siblings Pat (Deceased), Jon, and Steve; later as a father; as a son; and as a husband. He cherished the role of providing care and love to family.
Tim’s call to service fueled his core. Whether it was teaching in Hong Kong, engaging congregations in Africa, or sculpting his students in Ohio, Tim believed in the potential to build a more just world and to seek and enhance human rights for all.
Tim was born March 26, 1943, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating high school at Bethesda Chevy Chase (MD) in 1960, Tim graduated from Capital University where he was on the debate team and sang in the chapel choir. Tim went on to graduate from Lutheran Theological Seminary (later known as Trinity Lutheran Seminary) also in Columbus, and made his first extended foray abroad to receive a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Tim was a parish pastor at Divinity Lutheran church in Parma Heights, Ohio, a professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong, where he taught from 1975-1979, and a professor and Kuder Chair of Christian Mission at Trinity Lutheran Seminary from 1980 until his retirement. An early expert in liberation theology, Tim traveled the globe teaching and learning, returning with an array of tales that demanded photographic evidence: Meeting with Desmond Tutu in South Africa, serving as an election observer in Nicaragua (and trailing Daniel Ortega around), escaping an attempted coup in Honduras, taking students into embargoed Cuba. He had a truly unique perspective on the world. He reached hundreds of students as a teacher and mentor and they, in turn, brought new perspective to thousands of parishioners. At 6’4”, with a beautiful bass voice, he commanded a room, despite being an introvert and intellectual at heart.
Most of all, he loved – and was loved by – his family.
A celebration of life will be announced in the weeks ahead.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Lutheran World Relief or Licking County Food Pantry.