Thurs, Nov 10, 7:30 at Barlow Community Center. Dr. Erik Chaput discusses role of black abolitionists on Ohio’s fight to end slavery.
Hudson Heritage Association Kicks Off Program Year with Special Speaker
Joseph Huber, Jr. to Recount Tumultuous but Triumphant Childhood as a Military Prisoner
It is almost impossible to put into context a childhood marked by such polarizing feelings and experiences, from freedom to captivity, hopelessness to optimism, protection to vulnerability. At the first program event of the season presented by the Hudson Heritage Association (HHA), Joseph Huber, Jr. will share his story, one marked by seismic swings, remarkable conditions and ultimately, great triumph. The HHA event takes place on Thursday, September 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Barlow Community Center, 41 South Oviatt Street, Hudson.
Huber, now 86, grew up in the southern Philippines on a remote plantation owned by Goodyear. Huber’s father was the manager of an estate that produced rubber tree seedlings for plantations in Central and South America. Though originally insulated from WWII, Japanese troops arrived in the Philippines in 1942 and the Huber family was sent to a prison camp in Manila, alongside almost 4,000 prisoners of war of Japan.
Life was marked by hunger and harsh living conditions, but Huber credits his parents for a Life is Beautiful-style logic, never showing fear or hatred toward captors or conditions. This resilience was a product of the whole family’s lifestyle, cultivated over years on the plantation.
“My parents made us a farm family where all the kids worked, had responsibilities and matured,” Huber says. “We were never afraid, and we never hated. When you are a child, you think, ‘OK, we’re doing this and if your parents aren’t worried, why should you be?’ Now I know that my parents were worried, but they never showed it. My resolve is a memoriam to my parents and their wonderful efforts in their lives.”
On February 3, 1945, the 1st Cavalry Division raided the prison camp where the family was held to liberate its inhabitants. Huber narrowly escaped death. Thirty-one months after their ordeal began, the Huber family was free, and returned to their original plantation where work for Goodyear resumed.
Huber left the plantation in the fall of 1948 and lived with his maternal grandparents in Summit County while attending Tallmadge High School. He graduated with electrical engineering degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and worked for Goodyear’s aircraft division, ultimately retiring from Lockheed Martin in 1999. Huber has traveled to or lived in over 45 countries and carries with him a universal spirit of connection with others.
At the September 9 event, Huber will recount his fascinating life and share memories, milestones and a very special brand of mettle. All are welcome to attend the free event.