LIMA — Former Allen County Prosecutor and longtime lawyer Lawrence S. Huffman died Tuesday morning. He was 89.
Huffman served as prosecutor from 1969 to 1976 and practiced law in Lima for 60 years. In 1974, he took a case to the United State Supreme Court against the Sigma Theater.
Current Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Juergen Waldick described Huffman as a “prosecutor’s prosecutor.”
“We never worked together, but I looked up to him. He was the consummate prosecutor,” Waldick said.
Huffman received his bachelor of law degree from Ohio Northern University in 1958. He was a member of the Ohio and Allen County Car Associations and served as president of the local bar association in 1978. In 1991, he was admitted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Huffman continued his “hard nosed” work ethic daily at his firm, Huffman, Kelley, Brock and Gottschalk, LLC, until about three months ago, partner Brad Kelley said.
“He was an extraordinary lawyer,” Kelley said. “I’ve traveled all around the U.S. in a legal capacity, I’ve seen lawyers all over this country, and he was the best lawyer I ever met.”
Kelley worked under, and then alongside, Huffman for 41 years. He called him the “patriarch” of the firm. Huffman and former partners began the firm in the late ’60s.
“I walked into his office, and it was the only office I walked into, in October of 1978. I was this snot-nosed little lawyer who didn’t know anything, but had the benefit of having two brilliant oracles to bounce off,” Kelley said. “It’s weird, but I’ve probably had more meals with Mr. Huffman in my 41 years of working with him than I ever had with my own father, and I love my father.”
Huffman leaves behind his wife Shirley Huffman, sons Lawrence A., Michael, Matthew, Daniel, John and Thomas Huffman, as well as daughters Kathleen Ferry and Joan Gallagher. Preceding him in death was a son, Nicholas Huffman.
Lawrence A., Matthew and John are currently attorneys at the family firm. Matthew currently serves as a member of the Ohio Senate, representing the 12th district.
“The Huffmans are well entrenched,” Kelley said. “Even though it’s called Huffman, Kelley, Brock and Gottschalk, it’s just been called the Huffman firm.”
From 2014 to 2017, Huffman wrote a column for The Lima News in which he looked back at unusual or prominent cases in Allen County, including a bi-weekly breakdown of his Supreme Court case.
“It started out as an occasional column and quickly became a regular piece. It was quite popular. He had a folksy way of telling a story,” said Jim Krumel, editor of The Lima News.
Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Lima. Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Chiles-Laman Funeral and Cremation Services, Shawnee Chapel.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.