Florence "Flo" Huffman, a native of Healdsburg who loved to cook and entertain her large family and circle of friends, died June 18 of complications from dementia. She was 87.
Born in Healdsburg on Sept. 26, 1925, Florence Eleanor Meyer was the youngest of Florence and Alonzo Meyer's three children.
Educated at Sotoyome School and later Healdsburg Elementary School, Huffman graduated from Healdsburg High School in 1943 and shortly thereafter married Dennis Sousa.
The couple traveled through Dennis Sousa's stint in the Marine Corps during World War II. When the war ended, the young family returned to California and made their home in Santa Rosa and later in Healdsburg.
They operated Sousa Concrete Products, and Flo did the books while raising the couple's five children.
The pair divorced in the early 1970s.
A regular at Camp Rose, a Healdsburg restaurant and bar where live music and theater performances were held, Flo met Michael Huffman, who played guitar in various performances.
The pair married in 1972. They were together until his death in 1983.
She did accounting work for Foppiano Wine Co., the Robert Brent Co.and later for the city of Healdsburg, before retiring in 1997.
Huffman loved travel, and her Victorian home was adorned with souvenirs from her favorite spots in Mexico, as well as Alaska and elsewhere in the United States.
"She was extremely outgoing, she loved adventure," said her daughter-in-law, Toni Sousa of Healdsburg. "She took disco lessons in her 60s."
But she was also a generous and fun-loving hostess, always inviting her growing brood into her home, where she would make her famous cioppino and loaves of Easter bread.
"She would make 50 loaves and she would give loaves to everybody," Toni Sousa said. "Whatever she made, she made tons of it and gave it away."
Ingredients came from the produce beds she tended around the home on Fitch Street that she bought in 1974, said her son, Dennis Sousa of Healdsburg.
"She brought stuff from her garden," he said. "She just loved to cook."
Her friends were plentiful, according to her family, from her days in Camp Rose productions, to dance lessons, travel and her various work gigs.
"She always tried to do new things," Toni Sousa said. "She wasn't totally outrageous, she was just interested in a lot of things."
"She was just sort of a vital person," she said.
In addition to her daughter-in-law and son, Huffman is survived by daughter, Connie Smith of Lakeport; sons, Gary Sousa of Santa Rosa, John Sousa of Windsor and Mark Sousa of Santa Rosa; 10 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.
A service will be held at 11 a.m. July 20 at the Alexander Valley Christian Fellowship, 6650 Hwy. 128, Healdsburg. Donations may be made in Huffman's name to a charity of choice.
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