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 Merle Calvin “Hula Hips” Hufford

Merle Calvin “Hula Hips” Hufford

Oregon, USA
Death 6 Aug 2000 (aged 91)
Pierce County, Washington, USA
Burial Milton-Freewater, Umatilla County, Oregon, USA
Memorial ID 26418075 · View Source
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He was an All American halfback for the University of Washington "Huskies." He was a member of the Washington State House of Representatives from 1947 to 1949.

"The Seattle Times," August 9, 2000:

Merle C. Hufford, a former University of Washington star halfback and one-term state representative, lived much of his life as a low-key businessman in Port Townsend.

But in the late 1920s and early 1930s, when he was a Husky track sprinter and all-star running back nicknamed "Hula Hips," he made big news.

He was named to the East-West All-Star and Shrine games.

In late 1932, when he declined a professional-football career, he told a reporter: "I have decided professional football isn't worth the time you give it. I'm a family man now, and intend to stay home and establish my position in the business world here."

He subsequently played a little football with the old West Seattle Athletic Club, a group that had a nonprofessional team.

Mr. Hufford died Sunday (Aug. 6) of pneumonia. He was 91.

"He was certainly a great dad, honest and as loyal as the day is long, and loved to play football," said his son, Merle Hufford Jr. of Clayton, Calif.

"But I'm not sure he was comfortable with the notoriety."

One of nine children born to orchardists in Milton-Freewater, Ore., Mr. Hufford was recruited out of high school by UW scouts.

He excelled in football, boxing and track; he ran 100 yards in less than 10 seconds.

Under former UW coach Jimmy Phelan, he became a Pacific Coast Conference all-star halfback.

News stories referred to him as "Hula Hips" because of his speed and elusiveness while throwing or carrying a football.

He was nominated for NCAA All-American football honors several times and was named an All-American for the year 1929.

He was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1990.

He began his business career running a service station in Seattle. In 1939 he moved to Port Townsend, where he worked in the retail credit-service business.

He supported community development and municipal government.

He also refereed high-school and military football games.

Involved in the Washington state Republican Party, he served as a state representative from the 24th District in 1947.

He won the Republican nomination to try to unseat then-incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry M. Jackson in 1948, but lost the election.

Mr. Hufford, who loved the outdoors and took pride in staying fit, retired in the mid-1970s. He moved to Walla Walla, not far from his childhood home.

Mr. Hufford settled in Puyallup in 1994.

Also surviving are a daughter, Carolyn Abolins, Edgewood; brothers Carl Hufford, Port Angeles; Herbert Hufford, Christmas Valley, Ore.; Norman Hufford, Walla Walla; and a sister, Violet Kinsfather, Kennewick; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. His second wife, Doris Hufford, to whom he was married 35 years, died in 1995.

Information and obituary provided by:AMB




  • Created by: Teresa
  • Added: 26 Apr 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 26418075
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Merle Calvin “Hula Hips” Hufford (7 Feb 1909–6 Aug 2000), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26418075, citing Milton-Freewater IOOF Cemetery, Milton-Freewater, Umatilla County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Teresa (contributor 46969893) .