Friends of Chris and Darryl Huddleston — avid antiquers and garage sale enthusiasts with generous and sharing mindsets — say it came as no surprise that the couple left donations behind for community organizations close to them.
“They were always giving people,” said Randi Cooper, a friend of the Huddlestons for 20-plus years.
If there was somebody who needed something, they’d give very quietly. They were giving people but not boisterous.”
Following Darryl’s death from pulmonary fibrosis on June 14, 2020, at the age if 88 — Chris passed away in 2012 at age 82 — the couple bequeathed $145,000 out of some of the sale of their Bell Hill home in Sequim, and some personal savings and retirement to five organizations: Assured Hospice, Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, Sequim Food Bank, Olympic Peninsula Humane Society and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.
Each will receive $29,000 with no stipulations, Cooper said.
“(Darryl) felt they are the best ones to know where their money should go,” she said.
During the pandemic, Cooper said, Darryl felt these organizations in particular needed help immediately.
In recent months, Cooper said, she and her husband brought food to Darryl because she was unable to leave home because of her illness and the pandemic.
However, Darryl was “one of those people, who said she’s going to do something, you know it’s going to get done,” Cooper said.
At age 82, Darryl broke her hip and was told she wouldn’t be able to walk again.
“She said, ‘No, that’s not going to happen,’ so she called around looking for a doctor who would give her a hip replacement,” Cooper said.
“She was up and walking in three weeks … at a follow-up meeting with the doctor, he was amazed at her (saying), ‘you do know you’re healing for a year?’ She said, ‘people keep telling me that!’”
“She was a go-getter,” Cooper said.
Family and friends say the Huddlestons met in Hollywood and it was “love at first sight” “and they were “devoted to each other.” They married in 1955 in Clark County, Nev.
Chris worked as an aeronautical engineer after serving in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force Reserves. He received multiple service medals for his time as Staff Sargent of the 115th Tactical Fighter Squadron in aircraft maintenance.
Darryl worked for Bell Telephone for a few years. They have no children.
The couple retired to the Olympic Peninsula from Los Angeles area in 1989, moving to Sequim for its weather where Chris enjoyed fishing and Darryl enjoyed working in the yard and seeking out yard art.
Chris is survived by one sister and six nieces and nephews in Washington and California, while Darryl has no living relatives.
Their home was like a museum, Cooper said. The couple frequented garage and estate sales weekly, and became avid pottery collectors.
“These were the people you called with questions,” Cooper said. “They collected for years and had so much fun doing that.
“If you wanted to know if it was real. They were a fountain of information.”
In retirement, Chris learned to repair clocks and pottery, and they both collected pottery from Roseville, Weller, Rookwood, McCoy and Ephraim.
Darryl researched in her huge library of books to find out information on pottery, Cooper said, and “they loved sharing their information with others.”
Cooper, who oversaw the Huddleston’s estate, said the pottery collection was sold to friends and acquaintances who came from as far away as California for some prized pieces.
Animals were a major part of the Huddleston’s life, too: they had Saint Bernards and cats throughout their lives. A portion of their home was devoted to Saint Bernard collectibles as well.
Cooper said she’s missed her time with the Huddlestons especially during the pandemic.
“But all I have to do is think about is how there are more wonderful people out there just like Chris and Darryl that bring joy to everyone they meet, and it helps me to know things are going to be OK because of people like them,” she said.