Carla Scarlett Cloninger Huffman passed away Saturday, May 20, 2023. Her life was centered around her family and friends - she fiercely loved both.
Carla was the daughter of Evelyn and Carl Cloninger, Jr. born on March 19, 1945, in Longview, Texas. She grew up in Marshall, and told stories of how she loved visiting her grandmother, Clara Jewel "Big Amy" Mc Cracken Cloninger, and how much fun she had with her brother, Larry Bivins Cloninger. She graduated from Marshall High School in 1963 where she was involved in theater in the Jr/Sr play, voted Most Intellectual, Sports Editor of the Big M Roundup - the school newspaper, Latin Club Vice President, Regina for Latin Club, Secretary of her homeroom, and was a proud Captain of the Mavette Pep Squad. She was already a force.
Carla attended THE University of Texas in Austin where she met the love of her life, George Huffman. At The University of Texas, she pledged Alpha Phi and continued her leadership meeting friends she would cherish for the rest of her life.
Carla and George married June 11, 1966, at the First Methodist Church in Marshall, then moved to Beaumont, Texas where she completed her degree in Elementary Education at Lamar University and they began their life together.
They moved to Longview in 1967 and welcomed their first daughter, Amy Evelyn, in November of 1967 and Laree Suzannah in 1969. Then moved to Marshall and welcomed George Carl Allen "Cody" in 1970 and William Barry in 1974 - the band of gypsies was formed. They would travel together on numerous road trips in the station wagon and van singing favorite songs along the way.
Carla taught her children to honor God first, be respectful, dedicated and hard working.
She felt great honor and joy in celebrating milestones, her inclusively in bringing together people of any race or religion. The common goal was to live in love. Carla was the epitome of the working mother and taught Kindergarten, third grade, classes of at-risk students who were each in need of specialized learning plans and eventually became the Director of At-Risk Students within MISD but the highlight and pride of her career was being the Director of the First United Methodist Day School for five years. In those years, she helped to create new classes, brought in more teachers and would eventually leave the position with a book containing the waiting list for children - some of whom had not even been born yet - whose parents wanted them to be able to attend.
Carla earned additional degrees including a Masters in Early Childhood Education from East Texas State in Commerce, a Masters in Educational Administration and began her studies for her PHD at Stephen F. Austin.
She loved bringing people together, and she was very good at it; sincere, heart-felt, funny. Carla served as President of the Marshall Symphony League, President of the Cypress Junior Women's Club, chaired the Marshall Stagecoach Days Festivities, and on many Saturdays she would don her uniform and referee on the soccer field.
Carla officially retired from the Marshall Independent School District in December of 2003, and began the favorite chapter in her life simply as George's wife and Grammy to her grandchildren. Carlee Elizabeth Young, Rachel Miriam Stone, Marleah Renee Huffman, Emma Grace Young, Lauren Ellis "Ellie" Stone, George Alan Rhett Huffman, and Geordon Lee Huffman were all showered with her love from the moment they were born. She loved the movie The Sound of Music and always wanted to have a large family so it is very fitting that she was blessed with five grand daughters and two grandsons. She would spend the remainder of her life doting, supporting, loving, texting and talking with them - she adored her grands! Grammy, Carla, Mom did not pass on a single opportunity to make a purchase from Amazon to send to them all! They were the lights of her life and made every single day brighter.
Carla was an avid reader and prolific crocheter and needle pointer - many family and friends were gifted with a blanket from Grammy. She had a quick wit and a clever sense of humor. She also had a huge heart. She was openly friendly, accepting, patient, kind and generous. Carla was a huge fan of the University of Texas athletic department and watched each sport: football, women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, softball, soccer, and was watching the baseball team clinch a share of the Big 12 baseball title the night before she died. She was a fan of good food, good books, good company, all things purple and her grandchildren. She loved to read and to travel. She loved to meet new people, experience different cultures, and was also a fan of and advocate for equality, kindness, and generosity.
People and relationships were important to her; that pause of acknowledgment was important to her. She had an amazing gift for remembering people's names after just one meeting, a testament to the value she placed on people as individuals. She taught her grand children about chivalry and the impact that is made when others are considered first, showing simple acts of kindness that include holding the door for someone or removing a baseball cap when sitting down to dinner or listening to the National Anthem.
She was present, attentive, gracious, kind and SMILING. She ALWAYS thanked those around her for helping her, no matter how bad she was feeling and no matter how small the kindness shown her. Through it all, she continued to teach about inclusively, patience, humor, and grace.
Her family would like to thank friends for the kindness, care, and respect they have shown.
Carla is survived by her loyal, doting husband, George; daughter, Amy Young, son-in-law, David Young; daughter, Laree Stone; son-in-law, Marc Stone; son George Carl Allen "Cody," daughter-in-law Angela Huffman, son William Barry, daughter-in-law Linda Huffman, Joy Spencer Berry and her husband Rick Berry, her beloved grandchildren, brother Larry Cloninger, and sister-in-law Sherry Cloninger. Carla leaves behind nephews, cousins, incredible friends, students and many grandogs.
She is preceded in death by her parents and beloved uncles and aunts.
Carla's hope for all of us is a world without bigotry, divisiveness, judgment, or hatred, but rather one of love and grace; one in which we prioritize one another as well as our world around us. She supported multiple charitable organizations that she felt exemplified those hopes including First Methodist Church Marshall, Society of Saint Stephen at First Methodist Marshall, and the First Methodist Day School. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of these organizations in her memory.
Honorary Pallbearers are Bruce Abraham, Rick Berry, Geordon Huffman, George Alan Rhett Huffman, Marc Stone, and David Young.
On Thursday, May 25, 2023 a visitation will be held from 1:00-2:00 pm with the celebration of Carla's life to follow from 2:00 - 3:00 pm, at First Methodist Church in downtown Marshall.