Commodore Judge Joe Huddleston Passes – by Lee Huddleston


Please pass the word to our fellow Members that Judge Joseph R. Huddleston, “Joe,” died the evening of July 11 in Hilton Head Island.

Joe was the last living founder of the Club.  Joe incorporated the Club and was its first Commodore.  He worked hard to get the Commonwealth of Kentucky to let us have land at the State Park to put a clubhouse.  It would have been on the hill just above the parking lot at the marina.  Unfortunately, because it was public land, we would not have been able to serve alcohol.  When the governorship changed hands, however, the deal fell through.  Thank God for prays not answered.

In the early 1960s our father purchased a old wooden-planked, keel boat, Star, the first Olympic sailing class, from Bud Burford, one of the other founders.  Bud had raced it for years on Kentucky Lake but then switched to a Y-Flyer.  Bud taught my dad, Joe, Philip, and me how to sail on the Star and then his Y-Flyer.  As the oldest brother, Joe took responsibility for keeping the boat afloat, not an easy task.  In fact, several years later the folks at Ken Lake State Park Marina let the Star sink while on a mooring.

Later Joe purchased what was at the time one of the largest boats in the Club, a Balboa 20, which he and his wife, Heidi, sailed often on the Lake.  Finally Joe and Heidi moved up to a Hunter 26, which they eventually moved to South Carolina.  As recently as a month ago Joe was sailing on Port Royal Sound off of Hilton Head Island.  Joe also sailed with me on s/v Truelove up the Atlantic coast to Okracoke Island, North Carolina.

Through the extraordinary dedication of Heidi, despite diabetes, Joe was in excellent health.  He thought that he had ruptured a disk in his back and went to the hospital to get some help.  To everyone’s total shock, it turned out to be cancer.  He began to receive treatment and we had hope that he could beat it.  Then an extremely aggressive version of the cancer got into his brain and within days he was gone.  Of course, I and many others will miss Joe’s good-heartedness, intelligence, generosity, and love of sailing.

Fair winds and far places, wonderful brother.

Lee Huddleston

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