published Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Chattanooga: Real estate 'pillar' Huffaker retiring


by Jason Reynolds
Audio clip

Hugh Huffaker

Hugh Huffaker, Chattanooga’s longest-serving Realtor, has hung up his for-sale sign after 55 years.

“To start your own firm and attract agents is a big challenge,” Mr. Huffaker said. “It took a period of time, and I ended up with 100 agents and four offices. Real estate is one of the things I enjoyed the most.”

PERSONAL GLANCE

* Name: Hugh Huffaker

* Profession: Real estate agent since 1954; founded Huffaker Inc. Realtors, which was Chattanooga’s largest independent firm when Crye-Leike bought the business in 1997.

* Family: Wife, Marian; children, Kathy Wilder, Alice Thatcher and Hugh Huffaker III

* Hobby: He has exercised at the YMCA for 50 years. He once played handball but now enjoys using the exercise bike and the walking track.

Crye-Leike employees and other local real estate agents celebrated Mr. Huffaker’s career at a ceremony Wednesday at the company’s downtown office. Mr. Huffaker sold his company to Crye-Leike in 1997.

“He has been one of the pillars of the real estate community the past 55 years,” said Jack Webb, a Crye-Leike commercial broker who served as president of Huffaker Inc.

Mr. Huffaker’s company traces its roots back to Ferger Brothers, an insurance and real estate company formed in 1887, said Mr. Huffaker’s daughter, Kathy Wilder. Later, the company was called Huffaker & Associates.

Mr. Huffaker’s accomplishments include a term as president of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors in 1979 and the development of Hidden Brook subdivision on Signal Mountain along with Tommy Lupton.

Mr. Huffaker was the first chairman of the CARTA board and a founding elder of Rivermont Presbyterian Church, as well as a board member of McCallie School.

Mr. Huffaker said he has seen many changes in the industry. Real estate agents used to be based mostly in downtown buildings, he said, and only three agents were women.

Also, agents must obtain more education to receive a license, he said, but that provides better service to clients.

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