Scottish-born, American-bred Mabel Huffman was 11 months old when her father made the difficult decision to leave their home country and bring his children to America for a better life. Mabel soon started using every tool America had to offer to carve out her own success.
Living in a period when women struggled to be taken seriously, Mabel broke boundaries throughout her career and in her charitable activities. From working at Westinghouse Air Brake (the company responsible for inventing the railway air brake) to serving as president of the Hialeah-Miami Springs Chapter Pilot Club (twice), she’s done it all.
Mabel worked for Nationwide Company as the first – and at the time only – female secretary in the business. During her time there, she even spoke with Admiral Chester Nimitz, the renowned WWII fleet admiral and Chief of Naval Operations. She also worked with her beloved husband, William J. Huffman Sr., a former Air Force officer and attorney, in their Miami home for several years.
Mabel’s list of volunteer work and philanthropic pursuits is a long one; highlights include serving as a member of the Junior and Senior Women’s Club, working to promote nursing scholarships for women entering the workforce, leading Girl Scout troops with her daughter, and becoming one of the first female deacons of Miami Springs First Presbyterian Church.
In 1998, Mabel decided to move to Tallahassee with her daughter, Sandy Saunders, who works at Florida State University. The move also brought her closer to her son, William J. Huffman Jr., who lives in Savannah. For the past 20 years, she has continued her volunteer work with the Tallahassee Chapter Pilot Club and the Tallahassee Senior Center.
After nearly a century of a life well lived, Mabel is still on the move. Of all her accomplishments, she ranks family first and staying active in the community second. Blessed with two beautiful children, five grandchildren, and six great grandchildren, Mabel says contentedly, “Family is the most important thing in my life.”