From retail to rookie cop then all the way to the top
Interview by Brett Eisele – Spring 2016
GC LIVING: Bob, you are a Casa Grande favorite son, of sorts. How do you feel about that?
Bob Huddleston: Wonderful! I enjoy my life here in Casa Grande and my successes within the community. I like being identified with Casa Grande.
GC LIVING: Were you born here?
Bob Huddleston: I was not. I was born in Lafayette, Indiana. My family moved here in 1966 when I was 8 years old. I’m not a natural- born, but this is hometown for me.
GC LIVING: Moving from Lafayette, Indiana to Casa Grande, Arizona had to be a step down in terms of population?
Bob Huddleston: Very much so. Even at 8 years of age I noticed it. As a matter of fact, my brother, sister and I laughed when we first came into town because there was only one stoplight, which was at Florence and 2nd Streets, and as children we thought that was hilarious.
GC LIVING: What brought your family out here?
Bob Huddleston: My aunt invested in a radio station, KPIN-AM. She recruited my father to come out and co-manage it with another relative and he did so for several years.
GC LIVING: You attended Evergreen Elementary School and then on to the junior high. While there, did you play any sports?
Bob Huddleston: Booster league football, but for some reason I can’t remember what it was called back then. Bob Brutinel and Vern Hancock were our coaches – that much I do remember. Oh, and Bud Johns the architect! But to answer your question, I played football 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.
GC LIVING: What did you play at Casa Grande High School?
Bob Huddleston: Nothing. I raced motorcycles. (Laughs) I got the bug about 12 or 13 years of age and had dirt bikes all through high school and raced motocross in the Phoenix area.
GC LIVING: Were you any good?
Bob Huddleston: No. (Laughs) But I had an awful lot of fun!
GC LIVING: Who were some of your buddies in high school that we would have known?
Bob Huddleston: I don’t know that you would know any of them. I hung around with Mike McBride – you probably know him – (contributor) Donna McBride’s husband. Mike and I were buddies all through junior high and high school and still are today. Another friend of mine was Kevin Sonneman. He went to work with Southwest Gas and retired a couple of years ago.
GC LIVING: Did you enjoy going to high school here?
Bob Huddleston: Oh, very much! Yes.
GC LIVING: Did you get decent grades?
Bob Huddleston: Fair. My mom always compliments me in saying that I got near honor roll grades and never brought home a book. I didn’t really believe in homework at the time and did what I needed to do in class and was successful, I guess, but I had a very good time.
GC LIVING: Where did you go to school after that?
Bob Huddleston: I took a few classes at Central Arizona College (CAC), but never completed a degree.
GC LIVING: Did you go through the CARLOTA (law enforcement training) program at CAC?
Bob Huddleston: I did in 1980. I was hired on at the police department here in Casa Grande and they sent me through the academy, which is an interesting story. Back then it was not a legal requirement to immediately go through the academy. The department had one year to send new officers through the program. I was the last officer with Casa Grande that, upon the day of hire, I was given a badge and a gun and a training officer and was told to hit the street.
GC LIVING: Who was the chief then?
Bob Huddleston: George Coxy was the chief at the time.
GC LIVING: And who was your training officer?
Bob Huddleston: Pete Clutter.
GC LIVING: Pete Clutter, now that’s going back a few years. Was your entire career in law enforcement with the Casa Grande Police Department?
Bob Huddleston: Yes, it was.
GC LIVING: What was it like in the day? How many people were on the force?
Bob Huddleston: I think there were about 28 or 29 – something like that.
GC LIVING: Were you in the new building yet?
Bob Huddleston: Yes, the new downtown building at Peart Park opened in 1979. So it was brand new when I was hired in 1980 and the old building was still there, (now the Chamber of Commerce) but it was only used for storage.
GC LIVING: Going back to the early years, what did you do for fun around here when you were young and there weren’t a lot of people here in Casa Grande?
Bob Huddleston: You mean high school?
GC LIVING: No! No.
Bob Huddleston: (Laughs)
GC LIVING: We don’t want to talk about that. What did you do when you were at Evergreen? What did you guys do for fun?
Bob Huddleston: I recall heading for the park. We’d play football in the park. Where I lived at 12th Street and Trekell Road, there was Gilbert Park nearby. All the guys in the neighborhood would get together at Gilbert Park and play football. Last night I was remembering back to my buddy who lived next door to me. We used to walk downtown and would go to Simmon’s Sports Supply and look around and buy model cars and such and then walk over to Flo’s Coffee Shop and have a hamburger and a milk shake and then walk home. That was a typical Saturday for us.
GC LIVING: Flo’s is now The Cook E Jar?
Bob Huddleston: Yes.
GC LIVING: The 4th of July fireworks displays were held at the old high school stadium, was that a big deal?
Bob Huddleston: It was. As I mentioned, we lived at 12th and Trekell and would sit in the front driveway along with homemade ice cream and watch the fireworks from the driveway. Best seat in the house!
GC LIVING: Did anything happen during that period of time that you remember was a big deal for Casa Grande?
Bob Huddleston: I remember the freeway (I-10) coming in and watching that go up. That was right after we moved into town. I don’t know the exact year, but I would guess ‘67 maybe? That seemed to change a lot of things with Casa Grande. The traffic level went down and I remember my Dad talking about that being a big move for this area with the freeway coming through.
GC LIVING: All the businesses were downtown where the state highway was and now there was nothing.
Bob Huddleston: Yes. Well, there was an old gas station on the corner of Pueblo Drive and Florence Blvd. We used to ride our mini bikes down there because it was dirt road down Pueblo Drive and that gas station was pretty much in the country. That was the last thing on Florence Blvd. heading out of town. After that, it was just cotton fields. It was called “Shorty’s” gas station and we would ride our mini bikes over there and fill them up with gas.
GC LIVING: Was the Jack in the Box there yet?
Bob Huddleston: No. No. No. That didn’t come in until much later. There was Larry and Allen’s Grocery Store; there were one or two little buildings west of Shorty’s Gas Station. But the gas station was about it. It was the end of town.
GC LIVING: When you got out of high school, did you know what you wanted to do?
Bob Huddleston: No. I was in retail. I worked for Charlie Blewer at the Rasco Store on Florence Street. I worked for him for four years, I think, and at the time I thought that’s what I wanted to do – work in retail, because I really enjoyed it. I went to California to run a store for a couple of years in Brawley, California, but that store was bought back. It was a franchise that Charlie owned that was bought back by the parent company. So I moved back to Casa Grande and started looking around for what I wanted to do. I looked at retail and put in applications every place I could think of around town, but I was having a little bit of trouble. I remember I even applied at the new Kmart, but I was having trouble finding a job. And this is the story of how I got involved in law enforcement. I was sitting at my Dad’s house one evening and he had the newspaper open and he said, “It says here the City of Casa Grande is accepting applications for police officers.” I said, “I don’t know Dad. You know, nobody ever got rich being a cop.” And he said “Well son, nobody ever got rich being unemployed either.” It was a lesson learned, you know. Hint taken!
I went down and applied and started the testing process. Back then, and even to this day, the interviews and tests that are involved are numerous and it takes two or three months to get through all of that. I started through the process and realized I really enjoyed the fellow applicants. They were good people – good, responsible people. I just enjoyed being around them and I was fortunate because there were three openings and 150 applicants. I was fortunate enough to get hired on, and as I said, they gave me a badge and a gun and put me out on the street with a training officer. It took me about two weeks to realize that’s what I wanted to do for my career. I fell in love with it.
GC LIVING: Did you begin working the grave yard shift because you were the new guy?
Bob Huddleston: I don’t know if it was because I was the new guy, but they did assign me to graveyard and at the first day of briefing I was a fish out of water. I had no idea what I was getting into. Sergeant Serapio Hernandez was the supervisor of the squad. I remember officers Ardell Witt, Jerry Edwards and also Gary Hitterman. Now these are big guys and I remember looking around that room thinking, “They are going to chew me up and spit me out.” I was a little guy back then.
Anyway, they were all very helpful and coached me along as best they could. I spent the next three months – I think it was – out on the street working with Pete Cutter and learned a ton of information prior to going to the academy.
GC LIVING: There were different sectors if I’m not mistaken. Where were you assigned?
Bob Huddleston: Back then the city had two divisions, “A” and “B.” Today they can run four to five districts. I was generally assigned the west side of town. You could draw a line down the middle of town and the west side was ours.
GC LIVING: That had to be interesting?
Bob Huddleston: Oh very much so, yeah. On graveyard (shift) back then, you spent a lot of time on burglary prevention. So, you were sneaking around trying to observe people that were out walking or also sneaking around. We wanted to see what they were up to and there was a lot of cat and mouse. Yes, it was very interesting!
GC LIVING: How long were you on graveyard?
Bob Huddleston: Probably for several months and then, as I said, I went to the academy. After four months in the academy and graduation they put me back with Pete Clutter for a while and then cut me loose on my own and I was on day shift for quite a bit after that. Back then they used to move you around from shift to shift every four months. So I worked other shifts, but quite often it seems I was on day shift.
GC LIVING: Did the “rotation” program work?
Bob Huddleston: It did. There was a vote taken among the officers. There were several officers who were going to class at CAC and they wanted some control over the shift they were going to serve on so that they could plan their classes accordingly. The chief at the time approved it. So the officers then started bidding for shifts. However the rotation had it’s good points and bad points, but I think giving the officers some control over it was good.
GC LIVING: Jumping ahead for a second, you eventually became chief and I was wondering how you felt about the process as the chief?
Bob Huddleston: I liked the bid process very much so. Now, there was always some management requirement; you sometimes had to balance out the shifts. For instance, sometimes with the bid process, you would end up with all the junior people on one particular squad and that’s not good. You need some seniority on there, so occasionally we would have to interject some management and move some people around, which was contrary to their seniority and to their bid preference but, you still had to balance it to provide the best service to the public.
GC LIVING: Was your Dad proud of you?
Bob Huddleston: Very much so, yeah. I remember early on when I was a sergeant, I had moved up. I had been a detective and then I got promoted to sergeant. He used to tell me, “Someday you are going to be chief down there,” and I would say, “Dad, you know, that’s not going to happen. Don’t even think that way.” Anyway, when it finally came about and I went through the testing and interview process for the chief’s position and the day Ken Bucannan (City Manager) gave me a call and said, “You’re the guy, you take over next Monday,” my Dad was the first one I called and I … it kind of makes me teary eyed now, but I called him up and I said, “Dad, I made it.” He goes “What?” I said, “They just appointed me chief.” He said, “I knew it, I knew it.” (Laughs) So, he was … he was very proud.
GC LIVING: Let’s talk about your dad. When did he go to work for Vern Walton?
Bob Huddleston: You know, I don’t know the exact year. I would guess probably ‘76,’77 something like that, because I recall when I was in high school he worked for Desert Motors which was the Dodge dealership out on the Stanfield highway. He worked there I think until around the time I graduated, which was ‘76, and shortly after he went to work for Vern Walton Motors.
Then there was a five or six-year period in there prior to Desert Motors when he bought and ran the Oasis Nursery. Yeah, I used to spend the summers digging holes. (Laughs) That was my job, whenever they’d get a landscaping job I’d go out with the crew and help dig the holes for the trees.
GC LIVING: At least you earned some spending money! You know, I bought all my cars from your Dad and he used to tell me stories…
Bob Huddleston: Uh-huh…
GC LIVING: No, he never told me anything about you.
Bob Huddleston: (Laughs)
GC LIVING: Did you get to know Vern Walton well as a result?
Bob Huddleston: You know, I knew him, but I knew his son Scott in school, and as a matter of fact, the football stories I’ve told you, Scott was always the quarterback on the football teams. I had been over to the Walton home on several occasions dealing with football, birthday parties, and even way back in Cub Scouts.
GC LIVING: That was just a couple of blocks from your house?
Bob Huddleston: Yes, it wasn’t far.
GC LIVING: Tell me some of the memories of your Dad. I ask because there are a lot of people in town who knew him.
Bob Huddleston: Yes, I get that often you know and for my mother too. I’ll get people that ask me “Was Bob your Dad?” And then they’ll say, “You know, I bought cars from him for years.” Same thing with my Mom, they’ll ask if I’m related to Mrs. Huddleston and I’ll say, “Oh yes.” I’ll hear, “Well, she was my second grade teacher.” She taught second grade in Stanfield for 25 years.
My Dad was probably the most level- headed, calm, kind person that I’ve ever known. He coached and mentored me throughout my life and taught me exactly those values – to be level-headed, calm and most importantly, I think, to do the right thing. I think throughout my career…what I always kept in the back of my mind was not to do the easy thing or the cheap thing or even the best thing, but to do the right thing and that was my dad.
GC LIVING: Was he a God-fearing man?
Bob Huddleston: Oh yeah, we were raised in the Methodist church – Sunday school, youth group, all of that.
GC LIVING: Did you go to the Methodist church on Trekell Road?
Bob Huddleston: Yes, yes, that’s the one. Of course it was within walking distance and so any kind of youth choir or, as I said, youth group, my brother, sister and I were usually involved in. Those Christian values have carried over to this day. My wife Doria and I belong to Crossroads Church here in Casa Grande and we see the blessing of having God in our lives every day.
GC LIVING: Let’s go back to the police department. You mentioned you became a detective, then a sergeant. Did you accomplish that in a relatively short period of time?
Bob Huddleston: Yes it was. Things seemed to go in threes for me. I was a patrol officer for three years; I was a detective for three years, and that was the normal term. It was three years and then you would rotate out. At the end of my three years, I tested and promoted to sergeant and I was a patrol sergeant for three years and then I promoted to lieutenant.
GC LIVING: Isn’t that sort of a fast track in this business?
Bob Huddleston: It was. You know there were pros and cons with doing that. I think I obviously proved myself, because I wouldn’t have been promoted to lieutenant had I not, but I missed out on some things that a patrol sergeant does and because it was pretty quick I was pretty green (laughs) when I became a lieutenant.
GC LIVING : Did you once again have mentors when you became a lieutenant or were you just thrown into it?
Bob Huddleston: I had fellow lieutenants. When I was promoted was when Phil Bain retired and became the D.A.R.E officer. He had been the patrol lieutenant and that’s what I became, so I could always go and ask him questions. He was always around. There was also Leo Hall and Al Apger.
GC LIVING : There was a union issue. Were you there for the union Issue?
Bob Huddleston: I was there for the tail end of it. My first experience with the union was I had been there for several months and I had an officer approach me and tell me things were messed up and the union was going to make it right and I needed to join the union. I laughed it off and I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me, this is the best job I’ve ever had in my life!” And I meant it. I didn’t feel I needed that.
GC LIVING : So in about 9 years you’re a lieutenant?
Bob Huddleston: Yes.
GC LIVING : Where do you go from being a lieutenant?
Bob Huddleston: Chief is the next level and I honestly thought I would finish my career as a lieutenant. For the most part, during my time as lieutenant, which was about nine years, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the opportunity to manage each of the three divisions, which at the time, were patrol which was the largest, investigations and support services, which were dispatchers and records clerks. I had the opportunity to manage all of those, but by far the most time that I spent was in the patrol division as the patrol commander.
GC LIVING : The city went through some massive growth during your career. How did you deal with that?
Bob Huddleston: It was very difficult and the pattern it would take was public safety, police and fire would be advised there was a pending annexation and we would get some demographics on how many homes there were going to be, how much area – as far as acreage – was going to be included. Quite often it was square miles instead of acreage. We would sit down and pre-plan for that and we would let the city know that it’s going to take X number of officers, X number of patrol cars and miscellaneous equipment of a certain amount to patrol this area. One thing I learned the hard way was when the city grows in that way, the revenue doesn’t come in until much later and you are very quickly faced with that growth that you anticipated, but no resources and so you’re stretched thin.
Slowly over the years the city did approve a lot of those resources so we did get additional officers and we did get additional patrol cars, but we started off behind the curve – way behind the curve.
GC LIVING : As a senior lieutenant, were you in on the planning process at all?
Bob Huddleston: Oh yes, the city was very good about bringing people in and quite often our chief, Don Maxon, seemed to have a lot of faith and trust in me and I participated in a lot of the planning meetings in his stead. It was an educational experience and probably the biggest one I remember was the Copper Mountain Ranch project. Of course that never transpired. As far as trying to plan that project out for the next 10 or 20 years assuming that it was going to build out, it was potentially a population of 80,000 people and trying to plan public safety services for that area was quite a chore and many other projects were all very similar, but on a smaller scale.
GC LIVING : That was good training for you for what you were about to do. How did you becoming chief come about? Did someone approach you?
Bob Huddleston: No. In 1998 chief Maxon fell ill with cancer and he was gone more than he was at the station. The cancer steadily got worse and worse and I kind of assumed that role unofficially as acting chief. At the time I was the senior lieutenant. Al Apger and Leo Hall had since left the department, so as the senior lieutenant I stepped into those shoes.
Toward the end when the chief was terminally ill, they appointed me acting chief and I was left as acting chief for close to a year. In hindsight, I think city manager Ken Buchanan was giving me an opportunity to show that I could do the job and things went well during that time frame. Eventually the city announced they were going to hire a new chief and I knew that was coming about. I researched the job requirements for police chief and I did not have a college degree. I went to the city manager and I said “This job requirement says that a college degree is preferred, but it doesn’t say required. Would you allow me to apply for the position?” He told me at the time “I’ll allow you to apply, but that’s it.” He said, “There’s no favoritism; you’re just another applicant. Do your best, but no guarantees.”
I said, “OK” and turned in an application. It was a national search and there were applicants from all over the country. I think there were around 50 at the time and the city narrowed it down to a group of ten and I was fortunate enough to be in that group. They proceeded with community interviews and there were a couple of interview panels that the ten applicants went before and then, as I said, within a couple weeks after that was completed, Ken Buchanan gave me a call and said I was the guy and that’s how it came about!
GC LIVING : After a stellar career you decided to retire. I have to say the person who was appointed after you left was a bit controversial.
Bob Huddleston: “A bit” is putting it quite mildly.
GC LIVING : Did the city allow you to be involved with the choosing of the new chief?
Bob Huddleston: No.
GC LIVING : Did you agree with the choice?
Bob Huddleston: You know, from what limited exposure I had to Chief Cervantes, I thought it was a good choice. I was not critical of that at all. He had come in a couple of times and talked to me before I retired and I thought he was a decent guy. He had a very strong interest in Casa Grande and the Casa Grande Police Department and I respected that and I thought he would be good for the community.
GC LIVING : But it just didn’t work. Do you think one of the problems was he came from Scottsdale to Casa Grande and that you can’t run both departments the same?
Bob Huddleston: I don’t know what the problem was. I had conversations with numerous staff and officers while Johnny was in place and, for the life of me, I could not figure out where his theory of management was coming from. There’s no book that teaches what he was doing.
GC LIVING : There was a mass exodus.
Bob Huddleston: Yes, there were numerous officers that left the department and that tells you how bad it was. I only heard stories, but you know it was sad what was happening to the department.
GC LIVING: Enter Chris Vasquez as interim Chief. Did you agree with that?
Bob Huddleston: Oh, absolutely. I mentioned when I started back in 1980, Chris was one of those officers who was sitting around the table with me back then. I think he had all of a year-and-a-half on at the time so he was the great veteran senior officer when I started. I grew to respect Chris very much over the years.
GC LIVING: He completed his 20 years and went to the county sheriff’s department.
Bob Huddleston: Yes, he did.
GC LIVING: Chris was not chosen to be the new chief. Did that decision make sense to you?
Bob Huddleston: No, but I’m not on the inside either. I will tell you I’ve never met the new guy. He may be the greatest thing that ever happened to the department, but Chris was a known commodity and it was working. The only issue that I could see with Chris is his age. Chris would probably not be there for the next 15 years. He would probably serve five or so years and then retire. That’s the only issue that I can see that would be negative towards Chris.
But, as I said, I’m not on the inside and I don’t know what they see in the new guy. I talked to several officers that have talked with him and they say the outlook is good – that he seems to be the person they were looking for and they think he’ll work out just fine.
GC LIVING: Do you miss it?
Bob Huddleston: Oh, every day! I especially miss the earlier days and working in the field. There is a huge amount of personal pride and satisfaction in responding to emergency situations and being able to bring order back to an out-of-control situation. There is one point I wanted to bring up about being police chief. The history of our department goes back to 1915 with the first town marshal. I was the longest serving chief in the department’s history, at 14 years, and I’m very proud of that. The average life expectancy for a police chief across the country is three to five years. Many chiefs, as with the last chief, last a year or so and then they’re gone. Some, me included, last quite a bit longer than that.
GC LIVING: With all of this vast knowledge you now have, you decided you just might run for City Council. What brought that on?
Bob Huddleston: I spent 14 years as chief attending every council meeting, every subcommittee meeting that applied to public safety and going through the budget planning processes. You mentioned the growth planning processes. I’ve been through all of that and I have watched. I’ve watched the council do what the council does. Very early on I thought, “I could that. I could do that well.”
I think any time you have a committee or a council you need a variety of experiences. You need a variety of skills that you bring to the table. I hoped to someday sit on the council as the public safety representative. I hoped to have the expertise for public safety that I can add to that mix. Now, I think I’ve learned some skills in other areas as well.
GC LIVING: I must make it clear during this interview you have not announced yet that you’re running for City Council.
Bob Huddleston: Exactly. I have not.
GC LIVING: A good buddy of yours decided to run for Justice of the Peace this last election and you became his campaign manager. He won, and as a result, what started the process of you wanting to be a Judge Pro Tempore?
Bob Huddleston: Well, exactly that process. John Ellsworth called me one day and told me he was going to run for Justice of the Peace.
GC LIVING: Actually you had worked with him in the police department?
Bob Huddleston: Oh, absolutely. Yes, since 1980. John was another one of the officers in my early years and I worked with him for many years thereafter. I always had the highest respect for John. He was a great, great cop. We eventually sat down and talked and he asked for my support with his campaign. He asked if I would be his campaign manager and I agreed. I said, “You know, I’ve never done anything in politics before, so I apologize if I stumble on this because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m going to have to learn as I go,” and he was accepting of that. During the campaigning process, John had mentioned the idea of pro tempore. I said, “Well, keep me in mind, you know. Hopefully, this will all work out so keep me in mind.” He won the primary and essentially was elected at that point, as he didn’t have an opponent in the general election. During that time frame he asked if I was still interested and I said, “Absolutely.”
GC LIVING: You went to the Supreme Court Judicial College and graduated?
Bob Huddleston: That’s exactly right.
GC LIVING: Do you enjoy being a judge?
Bob Huddleston: Oh, very much. Yeah.
GC LIVING: You’ve done a lot of things in your career. Is there anything else you want to do?
Bob Huddleston: You know, I’m enjoying retirement and traveling! My wife and I like traveling and we have a lot of flexibility in our schedule. I think that’s what I enjoy most right now is that flexibility. As a police chief you are glued to your cell phone. It wasn’t really a good idea to leave town, but even when you did, you still had to be in touch via cell phone. You had to be ready to either respond or at least give direction over telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Right now I can turn the cell phone off. I can leave town if I want, whenever I want.
GC LIVING: I asked that question because your counterpart, Paul Babeu, the sheriff of Pinal County, wants to serve in Washington. Do you have any aspirations other than being a possible City Council member?
Bob Huddleston: No.
GC LIVING: What do you think of Sheriff Babeu running?
Bob Huddleston: I have a great deal of respect for Sheriff Babeu. He is a go-getter. If he’s faced with any task, any challenge, he will address it full-on. He will hit it hard. He will do everything within his power to accomplish it. And I don’t think that those qualities, those skills, will change a bit if he gets into Congress. I think he’ll be the same guy. I have a lot of confidence in him. I think, if elected, he’ll be wonderful.
GC LIVING: Back to your family, what are your brother and sister doing?
Bob Huddleston: My brother is retired, also. He owned and operated a trucking company in the Phoenix area for years. Four or five years ago he retired from that and does a lot of traveling back and forth between Phoenix and Pinetop. My sister just recently retired last year. She was an elementary school teacher for most of her adult life.
GC LIVING: Your wife and grandchildren?
Bob Huddleston: I’m married to Doria Garza and the same story about her as with my Mom and Dad. People ask me all the time, “Are you married to Doria?” I say, “Oh, oh yes,” and they’ll say, “Oh I bought a house from her 20 years ago.” She’s been a staple in this community, as far as real estate goes, for years and years.
She and I met late in life. We were both single and recovering from divorces. We got together, started dating and got married and have been very happy ever since.
GC LIVING : She’s a jokester.
Bob Huddleston: She is. She’s fun to be around and that same smiling face that you see in public, she’s 24/7 that way. It’s just a wonderful life!
GC LIVING : Do you two have kids from your first marriages?
Bob Huddleston: We do. You have to remember though all of our kids are adults now. It’s not like we’re a “Brady Bunch” or anything, but the kids are all adults and they all get along just fine.
GC LIVING : And they have their kids.
Bob Huddleston: Some do, yes.
GC LIVING: Thanksgiving must be a happy time at your house?
Bob Huddleston: Always, yes. Anytime we get all the kids together and the grandkids it’s a happy time. We have nine grandkids all together. Our house is a very busy house. There’s always somebody there and that’s just the way we like it.
GC LIVING: Tell me about your children.
Bob Huddleston: I have three kids. My oldest son Rob is 39 years old and works with the developmentally disabled here in Casa Grande. My son Timothy is 32 and he is an EMT at Community Bridge’s downtown facility in Phoenix and works with the homeless shelter and assists people with their medical needs.
My daughter Molly is 19 and she’s currently at Mesa Community College studying to be an elementary school teacher. One of the reasons I’m very proud of them is – and this was brought to my attention maybe a couple of months ago in a doctor’s appointment – the doctor was asking about my children and I told her that story and she said, “Well, the apples don’t fall far from the tree, do they?” I had never thought of it that way, because none of them are involved in law enforcement, but she said, “No, they’re all in public service. They’re all serving the community.” And I said, “Hey, I hadn’t thought of that, but that’s wonderful.” I’m very proud of that.
GC LIVING: Life moves on, doesn’t it?
Bob Huddleston: It does. We’re all getting older.
GC LIVING: Thank you, Sir.