Former Mayor of Mt Olive Passes Away

Information supplied by Tyndall Funeral Home, Mt Olive

Buster Ruff Huggins, former mayor Mount Olive and retired banking executive, died early Monday, June 6, at his home.

Born in Hemingway, S.C and raised on a farm, he graduated from Johnsonville High School and from Erskine College with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration.

He proudly served his country in the United States Navy during World War II in the South Pacific theatre.

His employment career included serving as district manager of Universal C.I.T. Credit Corp. for 19 years, during which he supervised 25 eastern N.C. counties and three branch offices, working out of the Kinston branch. He then joined Southern Bank and Trust Company for which he served for 22 years, retiring as senior vice president.

The town of Mount Olive was quite blessed that he chose to make the town his home.

He served as mayor of the town from 1995 until 1999, and was appointed by town commissioners to serve as interim mayor in January of 2003, and was re-elected for a two year term in November of 2003. Hs tenure of mayor ended in November of 2007 when he chose not to seek re-election. He served on the town’s planning board for 18 years, 12 of which he was chairman. For his devotion, he was presented with a “Key to the Town of Mount Olive,” and the town proudly named its wastewater treatment facility in his honor. Also, the Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce gives an annual award in his honor which is dubbed “B.R. ‘Ruff’ Huggins Lifetime Achievement Award.”

His retirement years were spent with much volunteerism, and many areas benefitted from his enthusiastic endeavors. He was involved with the Mount Olive Area Historical Society and the Aaron Museum, the Friends of the Parks Foundation of Mount Olive, the Friends of Steele Memorial Library, Mount Olive Industrial Committee of 100, Small Town Development Commission, and served on the Wayne County Transportation committee, the Mount Olive Airport Committee, WISH task force group at Mount Olive Middle School, NCLM Fair Advisory Committee, Eastern NC Regional Transportation Organization, and was a founder of Mount Olive Community Development Corporation.

Mr. Huggins was a member of First Baptist Church of Mount Olive where, in years past, he had served on the deaconate board, was a Sunday school teacher, and was on various committees, including the personnel and church trustee committee.

On the last business cards he had printed which feature his Circle H Hobby Shop, he lists himself as a retired banker, real estate broker, sawdust maker, ex-mayor, and World War II veteran.

Mr. Huggins is survived by two daughters, Candy Huggins Davis, of Calypso, and Connie Huggins Barber of Smithfield; a granddaughter, Candace Barber of Smithfield; and a nephew, Orin Gilbert of Columbia, SC.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mae Mellons Huggins; a grandson, Devin Blade Barber; his parents, Tonlis F. Huggins and Ethel Perry Huggins; and two sisters, Juanita Huggins and Cathalis Huggins Gilbert.

Funeral services for Mr. Huggins will be held Thursday, June 9, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Mount Olive, officiated by Dr. Dennis Atwood, and with visitation to follow in the Christian Life Center of the church. He will be laid to rest in the New Cemetery at Old Johnsonville in Hemingway, S.C. Friday, following at 1 p.m. graveside service.

It was his wishes that memorial gifts be made to Mount Olive Historical Society, PO Box 802, Mount Olive, NC 28365, or First Baptist Church, PO Box 239, Mount Olive, NC 28365. First Baptist Church, PO Box 239, Mount Olive, NC 28365.