Former DDN columnist donates more than $250K to WSU archives

Former Dayton Daily News columnist Dale Huffman left more than $250,000 following his death to set up a charitable fund to provide annual help to the Wright State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives, Dayton Foundation officials announced.

The Dale M. Huffman Memorial Fund was set up at The Dayton Foundation with a gift of $256,492 from the longtime columnist and Dayton icon who died on July 26.

Money from the fund will be given yearly to the Wright State University Foundation and then distributed to the the school’s library for maintenance use on its Special Collections and Archives, which house work from the Wright brothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar and the Dayton Daily News, as well as historical information about the Dayton area.

“Dale always wanted to save his work’s legacy. It was important to him. This gift will allow his work and the work of many others to be kept so others can learn about the history of Dayton,” said Tom Young, Huffman’s financial advisor and longtime friend.

Dawne Dewey, head of Special Collections and Archives, said a portion of the money will be used to preserve Huffman’s collection that the library is organizing at this time.

“This is extremely generous and it speaks volumes about Dale’s attitude toward preserving history. The gift will be far reaching and will help us continue to preserve the Miami Valley’s history,” Dewey said.

Huffman’s career spanned 45 years.

In 1999, Huffman started writing a daily column for the Dayton Daily News that highlighted everyday life throughout the Miami Valley. The column ran every day for more than eight years until he was hospitalized with a serious illness. By then, he had written more than 3,000 columns in the newspaper.

He also spearheaded an annual “Mother of the Year” contest and “adopted” a group of students in the Class of 2000 as children that he followed and wrote about in columns throughout the years.

Additionally, Huffman wrote a book titled “Dayton: The Cradle of Creativity” in 1998. In 2008, he was inducted into the Dayton Walk of Fame. His collection of memorabilia, papers and photographs was recently donated to WSU’s Special Collections and Archives library.

“The Dayton Foundation is honored to be entrusted with this generous gift that will benefit an organization close to Dale Huffman’s heart. Dale was a most beloved newspaper columnist and humanitarian, who gave so much to the Greater Dayton community through both his profession and his philanthropy. This perpetual gift to Wright State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives will continue his name and legacy for generations to come,” said Michael M. Parks, president of The Dayton Foundation

In the past year, individuals, families and organizations established more than 200 new charitable funds of all types through The Dayton Foundation, bringing the total number of funds under its management to more than 3,300.

The WSU Libraries Special Collections and Archives is open to the public six days a week on the university’s campus in Fairborn. It is closed on Saturdays.

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