In Memory of Dr. Clayton S. Huber

by Carlee Reber

After a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease, Clayton S. Huber died on September 5, 2017.

Throughout an illustrious food science career, Dr. Clayton S. Huber kept close to his roots. He developed his work ethic in his youth by working on his family’s farm. Though this early experience was laborious, gardening became a joyful lifelong hobby.

Huber’s work developing food technologies for space flight started at the US Army Natick Laboratories, but that was only the beginning. From 1968 to 1975, he led the Technology, Inc. staff that designed food for the lunar landing and Apollo astronauts, among other NASA projects. “Not too many food scientists get to do that,” notes Dr. Oscar Pike, NDFS faculty member. “That was a unique part of his background.”

“He came to the university with a wealth of experience,” Pike remembers. “He brought a real strength of being able to teach using those experiences.” He was straightforward, organized, businesslike, and managed time well. Within his first year on campus, he started what would be twenty-two years in administration.

During his twelve years as chair of what is now the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, Huber fostered unity. “We have three different programs in our department and yet the collegiality is outstanding,” Pike says, “and I think that’s reflective of leadership that was inclusive.”

Huber’s leadership style centered on love for others. He helped others feel valued through his kindness, respect, and listening ear. “He placed a high importance and regard on the person,” says Dr. Frost Steele, NDFS faculty member. As former assistant dean Steve Taylor puts it, “He [had] the unique ability to understand, manage, and oversee large entities while never losing focus on individuals.”

When he became dean, his influence expanded and helped unify what was then the College of Biology and Agriculture. Again, his individual-focused leadership united people.

In his ten years as dean, the college became significantly more self-sufficient: external grants and donor endowments funded projects, research, and student scholarships. His behind-the-scenes efforts enabled the college to become debt free.

Throughout the busy years of his career, he served the Lord faithfully. He was a bishop, a stake president, an Area Seventy, a mission president (Connecticut Hartford Mission), and, after retirement, a temple sealer. “He was a very spiritual man,” Pike recalls. “He didn’t wear it on his sleeve, but he certainly exuded a Christlike demeanor.” Despite Huber’s many responsibilities, family remained his first priority. In their fifty-four years of marriage, he and his wife, Beth, raised their seven outstanding children and foster son.

Huber excelled at the endeavors to which he dedicated himself. He never sought attention or position; rather, recognition came because of his committed efforts and moral leadership. His legacy is one of Christlike love. In Taylor’s words, “Clayton Huber is one of those giants whose influence will never end.”