May 31, 1948-Aug. 31, 2023
Longtime Pleasanton architect, historian and community leader Charles Huff passed away of natural causes on August 31, 2023. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather and someone with a giant smile who always made you feel like the most important person in the room.
A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, September 11, 2023, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1225 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton. A reception will follow at the Veterans Memorial Center, 301 Main St.
Charles’ life began in Berkeley on May 31, 1948, the only child of Ruth and James Huff. While he would later return to his NorCal roots, he spent most of his childhood in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier. When he was 12, he joined a Baptist church and was inspired by a parishioner who practiced architecture. That man offered him a part-time internship after school, sparking his six-decade love affair with designing homes and other buildings.
Charles was a track sprinter at California High School and landed an athletic scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he later graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. It’s also where he met Kathleen Rominger, whom he married in April 1974. Kay and Charles moved to the San Jose area, where Charles took on various architectural jobs.
They had stopped through Pleasanton on occasion and thought it would be a nice place to raise a family. In 1980, with a newborn in hand, they set up life in Pleasanton. Charles in 1985 established his own architectural firm, called Charles Huff AIA Architect. Over the next 38 years, he would go on to design more than 1,400 Tri-Valley homes and businesses.
Charles also served as the city’s unofficial historian, documenting Pleasanton history and leading downtown tours with stories of early settlers, underground tunnels, movie locations, murders and speakeasies.
Charles also served as a member of the Downtown and North Pleasanton Rotary groups, vice president of the Pleasanton Jaycees and board member for the Museum on Main, a historic building he helped renovate in the 1980s. In 1990, Charles received the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award for the restoration of the old Pleasanton Train Station, where his office was located for more than 20 years. In 2006, Kay and Charles earned the Chamber’s Distinguished Individual Service Award.
“I’ve been fairly lucky my whole life,” he said ahead of a lifetime achievement honor he earned in 2022, the Ed Kinney Community Patriot Award. “And I wouldn’t change a thing. With all the opportunities that Kay and I have had, we’ve met some wonderful people and made great friends.”
Charles is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Kathleen Huff; sons Ryan and Tyler Huff; daughter-in-law Laurie Huff; and granddaughters Norah (10) and Savannah (8). Charles was preceded in death by his parents. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Charles Huff Memorial Fund at the Museum on Main: https://www.museumonmain.org/donate.html