He was the son of the late Charles R. and Mary Elsie Babb Huffman of Limestone.
Joe was a graduate of Washington College Academy, where he was the first student of the late Carrie Warrick to earn the Eugenie Buxton Cup in piano competition in Nashville. He completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music at Butler University in Indianapolis, and later earned his Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Columbia University in New York.
He served in the US Air Force as both a Chaplain’s Assistant and Choral Director at Edwards AF Base in California, as well as Organist and Choral Director at Iwakuni AF Base in Japan. Upon his discharge, he taught at Quintano’s School for Young Professionals in New York, and later became the head of the Music Department at Polytechnic Preparatory Country Day School in Brooklyn, NY.
As a freelance musician, he performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Bach Aria Group, the American Opera Society, the Robert Shaw Chorale, as well as numerous other musical groups. During his time in New York City, Joe served as soloist with both the Church of St. Mary the Virgin and the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. After returning to Tennessee, he served as Organist and Choir Director of Jonesborough Presbyterian Church for sixteen years, while also teaching piano and voice lessons, which he continued to do until one week before his death.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Dr. C. Daryl Huffman of Greeneville and Carroll S. Huffman of Limestone, and two sisters, Dorothy H. Cross of Knoxville and Margaret H. Sims of Limestone. He is survived by his sister, Barbara H. Wright of the Conklin Community, and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Joe lived a fascinating and colorful life, and hearing him tell stories of his past was a gift enjoyed by many. Those he met did not soon forget him, his deep voice and distinguished appearance left a lasting impression. When he returned to Tennessee in the mid-1970’s, he made Jonesborough his home, and spent many years walking the historic streets for exercise and fresh air, meeting many new friends and neighbors. Joe was passionate about gardening, and the grounds of Academy Hill where he lived will bear the fruits of his labor for many years to come. His greatest legacy will be his unique gift for developing the musical talents of his students, and for the lasting impact he had on their lives.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Tetrick Funeral Services, 3001 Peoples Street in Johnson City on Sunday, November 10, 2019, at 3:00 pm. A reception will immediately follow the service for those who wish to pay their respects.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Urbana Cemetery Fund, c/o Linda Clark, 135 Keebler Lane, Limestone, TN 37681.
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com . Tetrick Funeral Services 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, TN 37604 (423-610-7171) is honored to serve the Huffman family.