Cover photo for John Ross Huggins's Obituary
John Ross Huggins Profile Photo
1936 John 2023

John Ross Huggins

July 30, 1936 — November 26, 2023

Concord, Massachusetts

John Ross Huggins, 87, was born on July 30, 1936 in San Francisco, CA and died peacefully Sunday, November 26, 2023 in Concord, MA with his family by his side. John was the loving husband to Nancy Vaughn Huggins (née Gwinn), devoted father to Marshall and his wife Martha, and daughter Julia and an involved grandfather to Liam, Wyatt, Ramsey, Peter and Willem and proud uncle to Richard and Ross Henshaw.

Born to Joseph Huggins and Lydia Ross Huggins of San Francisco, CA and Downingtown, PA, John was the faithful brother to two sisters, Helen Huggins Henshaw and Joan Huggins. He was also grateful to call Wilton, CT, Baltimore, MD and Concord, MA, home over his 87 years.

John's earliest memories were of the Golden Gate Bridge, just completed, and his father rushing out at night with his gas mask to act as an Air Warden and idyllic summers at a little cottage on Aptos Beach, CA. At age 8, during the war, the family crossed the country by train and established the family homestead in Downingtown, PA. He attended the Haverford School, an all boys school, for 9 years where he was the Senior Representative to the Student Council, played on four undefeated varsity tennis teams and wrote a paper on the heroic grandeur of the Donner Expedition of 1848 that faculty claimed was possibly the best they had ever read. More meaningful than the education perhaps, in the 4th grade at Haverford he met his future brother-in-law, John Gwinn and discovered that the cows on their Downingtown farm were supplying their milk to his future wife, Nancy's, father's business, Pennbrook Dairy.  A skilful tennis player, John joined the Merion Cricket Club at 13 after winning the Junior
School Tennis Championship and remained a member for the next four decades, holding the rehearsal dinner for his marriage to Nancy in 1965 at his beloved Merion Cricket Club.

John attended the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Undergraduate Business School, where he was elected Vice-President of his Senior Class. He joined Delta Phi Fraternity, St. Elmo's, "a wonderful group of smart, fun loving guys",  where he was voted President at the 1958 National Fraternity Meeting. In his senior year at Penn, John joined the National Guard and was elected into the First City Troop and Cavalry, one of the oldest military organizations in the country. While serving on active duty, John conceived of developing a new type of service organization that would assist major companies in relocating their thousands of employees nationally and internationally. As soon as he received his discharge, John went to NYC and interviewed the personnel departments of over 50 major corporations. This allowed him and partners, Noel Tyl and Fred Marzullo, to create a company, the American Relocation Service, which would assist corporate transferees with area counseling and house hunting.
John's success as CEO landed him a New York Time's, above the fold, front page feature on his achievements. His distinctive smile and good looks earned him the title, preppy Elvis.

John's next venture, Homequity, then integrated house buying and selling to this model. Ten years later he sold the business to PHH and moved to Baltimore. There he became CEO of Woodside Management Systems developing the travel industry's most advanced reservation processing system that led to Woodside becoming the world's largest travel organization.

These successes were minimal compared to the joy he received being in the presence of his extended family. After marrying his wife Nancy in Gladwyne in 1965, he used a trip to Paris won on the television program "Say When" as the backbone of a European honeymoon. They soon moved to Wilton CT, where they welcomed the arrival of their children Marshall and Julia. As John said, "they and their families have always been and are the highpoint of our lives".
Throughout his life John claimed that "his greatest asset was always Nancy. She gave me constant encouragement, attention and critical advice. All this she accomplished while moving to new communities, making important contributions throughout and most important giving both of our children terrific love and care. It is impossible for me to adequately give Nancy all the thanks she has earned and deserves so completely. The fact that Nancy always believed in me was my greatest benefit". There was nothing John adored more than the summers, celebrations, vacations and holidays spent with his and the extended Gwinn, Henshaw and Huggins families.
A superb student, competitive tennis player and gifted founder and CEO to four different companies, John claimed the outstanding feat of his life was his family and the joy they gave him.
John will be missed by all who knew him

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember John for his memorial service on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 10:00 am in Duvall Chapel at Newbury Court, 80 Deaconess Road, Concord.
Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap Street, Concord, MA 01742 978-369-3388

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

DUVALL CHAPEL at Newbury Court

80 Deaconess Rd, Concord, MA 01742

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 592

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors