David Mack Goode Huntington

David Mack Goode Huntington, a longtime resident of Shorewood, died on August 16, 2019 at the age of 92. 

David was born on December 18, 1926 in Millsboro, Delaware, the second son of the Rev. M. Paul S. Huntington and L. Marie Goode Huntington, his father an Episcopal minister from Massachusetts and his mother a nurse from Virginia.

Brought up in New York and Massachusetts, David spent four years at the Choir School of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, then four years at Lenox School in Lenox, Massachusetts, where he excelled academically and was a four-sport athlete, most notably a standout hockey player. He entered Harvard College on a full scholarship in the summer of 1944 at the age of 17.

Like many of his generation, David was eager to contribute to the war effort. He decided that getting in on the action was more important than his second term exams and he joined the U.S. Army when he turned 18, leaving college and his coursework behind. He was trained for the great invasion of Japan in Camp Blanding in Florida and Fort Meade, Maryland. He was aboard the troopship Joseph T. Dickman in the middle of the Pacific in the fall of 1945 when the war ended. He remembered that despite polite requests from the soldiers, troops were continually assured that the ship was not turning around to take them home! He served in the occupation forces in the Philippines and Korea working to wind down the war effort until his discharge in December, 1946.

While his advisors at Harvard were not pleased by his sudden departure two years prior, after some debate David was allowed back to school in 1947 on a probationary basis, a detail that was never shared with his children, but in retrospect could have been useful information for them when their own report cards were under discussion. Without the distraction of World War II, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Harvard with honors.

After graduation, he worked on Wall Street for three years before returning to Harvard University as an administrative officer and graduate school counselor. In 1959, he accepted an administrative position across the country at the University of Chicago and was eventually made director of development for the Biological Services Division. In 1970, he moved the family to Wisconsin to manage two private philanthropic foundations and become the executive director and sole full-time employee of the Milwaukee Foundation. Under his leadership, the foundation’s endowment assets grew to $115 million and was one of the twenty largest community foundations in the country when he retired 22 years later. David was fiercely committed to creating opportunities and bettering the lives of people in the Milwaukee area. He was a member of several non-profit boards and received numerous honors for his service to the community.  

David’s service as a philanthropic leader was certainly forged through his upbringing and lifelong faith. Growing up during the depression in Red Hook, New York, he saw the kindness and charity his father showed to the scores of out of work men seeking help at his small parish. Although he lived in the Midwest most of his life, he always maintained an unbreakable connection to his family’s roots in New England and contributed to genealogy and family history. He wrote two books, “Hadley Memories,” marking the 250th anniversary of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington House, now a museum in Hadley, Massachusetts, and “First Flight and Other Stories,” a collection of autobiographical essays and family history.

He was married to Mary Elizabeth Huntington for 62 years until her death in April of 2018. Together they raised three children, numerous cats, and one spicy Pembroke Welsh Corgi in Cambridge and Newton, Massachusetts and Chicago’s Hyde Park before settling in Shorewood in 1970. Later in life, David and Mary enjoyed many European trips and were devoted grandparents. 

David is survived by children James (Mary), Sarah (Mark) Yannett, Sam (Vicki); and grandchildren Katie, Nick, Will, and Andrew. He is also survived by his friends at Saint John’s, particularly his dear companion Carole Friedman, his friend Sylvia Miller, and many others. His family and friends will remember him as a modest, kind, and generous man with a keen sense of humor. His children will remember his inevitable and often irritating response to our questions of what we can bring him: “Peace, perfect peace.”  We choose to believe he has that now.

David’s family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Saint John’s On The Lake for their outstanding care.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 23 in the chapel at Saint John’s On The Lake, 1800 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202. A reception in the first floor art gallery in the south tower will follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites friends to make a donation to Saint John’s On The Lake, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, or the charity of their choice.

Messages for the family

  • Dear Sam and family,

    Our deepest condolences.

    We’re truly sorry for your dad’s passing.

    Best,

    Carlos and Erika Pi

  • David was a wonderful man. It was my great privilege to have him as my boss for many years. It was his leadership that got the Greater Milwaukee Foundation off the ground AND assured its success and stellar reputation over the decades ahead. He will be missed!!!

  • “I’ll miss you David, so very much”
    Love Carole

  • We have great memories of Dave & Mary when we would visit Milwaukee they would make us feel at home. Dave as well as Mary will be missed. Love Marie & Brook

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