Jack E. Huff
Biography: Jack Edmund Huff was born on April 26, 1921, in Columbia City, Indiana. He was the son of Russell Edmund Huff and Vera Marie Helsinger and in 1939, he graduated from Greene Township High School in Saint Joseph County, Indiana. He would then go on to work at the Studebaker factory in South Bend.
Service Time: Jack entered the service on October 2, 1942 at Toledo, Ohio. His enlistment record identifies that his civilian occupation was “checker” which is described as a clerical position which may have included verifying quantities of parts or items sold and the recording of data and producing reports. I’m sure this information was key to him becoming the company clerk for Headquarters Company of the 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion.
The unit shipped from the Boston port on February 28, 1944, on the H.M.S. Britannic. They arrived in England on March 11, 1944. Originally trained with self-propelled TDs, they were converted to the 3″ towed gun and landed at Utah Beach on June 13th. They participated in the capture of Cherbourg and fought at Mortain in early August, reaching the outskirts of Paris on August 25th. Entering Belgium on September 8th and then Germany on September 12th, they supported operations in the Hürtgen Forest beginning late November.
The unit was on the line in the Ardennes when German offensive struck on December 16th. Moving to Aachen, Germany, in February 1945, they crossed the Roer River on February 25th and reached the Rhine River south of Düsseldorf. They crossed the Rhine near Wessel on March 29th, and supported the drive to the Ruhr before turning east to the Elbe River. They were transferred south and supported operations in Harz Mountains in late April and converted to M18’s that same month.
The 801st crossed the Danube and reached the Inn River, outside Hitler’s birthplace, Brunnau, Austria, by VE Day. The unit received credit for participation in five campaigns including Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Jack received a Bronze Star and the Good Conduct Medal. He left the service at the rank of Corporal.
In addition to the many official documents that Jack would have been responsible for, he also kept a private journal, which not only included his pay records but also names and dates of places the unit was stationed and a comprehensive list of the men he served with in HQ Company. There is also a list of some addresses for a few of the men that he wrote to after the war. In addition to including it here, we have also added it to the 801st unit page.
After the war, Jack married the former Roseanne Marie Pahucki in 1948. She was the daughter of Paul Pahucki and Anna Blochowiak and was born in Mishawaka, Indiana. The couple lived in Mishawaka and had two children, Margaret, born in 1950 and Edward in 1956. Jack worked for the Indiana Toll Road, which runs east and west across the very top of the state. When it opened, it was known as the “Main Street of the Midwest”. Jack started as a toll-booth attendant but went on to work in their stockroom and completed his career as a purchasing agent for the roadway.
In his spare time, he enjoyed playing golf and was also a member of the St. Monica Catholic Church Ushers Club. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus where he was a 4th Degree Knight. In 1970, Roseanne passed away and on December 3, 1971, Jack married the former Sarah Jane Bowerman who was born in Waterloo, Iowa, and was the daughter of Harry W. Bowerman and Clara Josephine Klebs.
Jack passed away on December 25, 1996, and was buried in the Saint Joseph Valley Memorial Park in Granger, Indiana. I want to thank Jack’s son, Edward, for providing the materials for this tribute. I also want to thank C&Y (Find A Grave contributors) for the grave marker image.