Henry Huff helped build strong Foundation
Henry Huff helped build strong Foundation with generous and untiring work
By Don Durham, former CBF Foundation President
If not for Henry Huff, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Foundation would not exist as we know it today. Henry passed away a little less than a year ago. He left many tangible and intangible legacies of his faithfulness. In CBF life, the CBF Foundation is the most visible.
Pat Ayres, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s second moderator, past Foundation board chair, and current Foundation board member, recalls, "Henry and Judge Bill Turnage were the most consistent voices in early Coordinating Councils, saying CBF needed a Foundation. Finally, they got together with Tommy Boland and made it happen."
After helping to create CBF Foundation, Henry chaired its organizing board and served as board member for a total of eight years, until 2002.
Turnage remembers Henry as, "A fine man and a good lawyer who was known to have the utmost integrity."
As CBF was formed in the early 1990s, one of the most critical issues of the day was the need to trust that dollars were being used in good faith in ways that honored the deep convictions of the Baptists who gave them.
"Henry saw earlier than anyone else that CBF would need a Foundation to receive, manage, and distribute the gifts of faithful CBF Baptists," Turnage said.
Cecil Sherman, CBF’s first coordinator, depended heavily on Henry as CBF’s chief legal counsel in its earliest tumultuous days. "Henry Huff was ‘counsel’ in the very best sense of the word," Sherman said. "It wasn’t just that he knew the law, he had good sense."
Henry spent tireless volunteer hours for CBF, addressing emergency legal issues with employee insurance and retirement in the same year the CBF Foundation was created.
Sherman remembers gratefully, "Henry Huff didn’t make a lot of noise, but when I needed help he spoke up."
In addition to Henry’s dedication to the Foundation, he was a committed member of Mars Hill Baptist Church. After a long legal career in Louisville, Ky., Henry and his wife, Mary, retired to Mars Hill, N.C., and invested themselves in their friends, their community, Mars Hill College and their church.
A. C. Honeycutt, long-time member of Mars Hill Baptist Church, described Henry as, "a voice we all trusted any time there was an important question in the life of the church. Because of Henry’s intellect, his background, and his unquestioned loyalty to this congregation he was one of our most trusted members."
One of my earliest acts as president of CBF Foundation was to meet with Henry for lunch in Asheville, N.C. I asked Mr. Huff what inspired him to lead in the creation of the Foundation. As I sat with one of the most quiet and unassuming men I have ever met I heard these words, "There was nothing special about what we did. We simply knew that if CBF was going to live beyond us, it would need a strong foundation – figuratively and literally – so we started building one."
Today, the CBF Foundation manages over $30 million dollars. In 2008 the Foundation distributed $779,748.13 for Fellowship causes, churches, and CBF state and regional networks.
Not only did Henry help create CBF Foundation, he also did his part to insure its future. Henry included a generous contribution to the Foundation’s endowment in his will. That simple bequest in his will, while very generous, was merely a final punctuation mark on a life-long story of service and generosity.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Foundation in particular, and the larger Fellowship movement in general, exists today because of the generous and untiring work of Henry Huff and many others like him. Let us not forget the legacy they’ve left us.
Thank you, Henry. Rest in Peace. You’ve earned it.