J. Robert Hufstader

j. robert hufstader
J. Robert Hufstader "Bob" died on January 21, 2012 at his home surrounded by family and friends after a long battle with cancer. Bob was born on July 18, 1941 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa to Gaylord and Virginia Hufstader. After having lived in Keokuk and Burlington, Iowa where his father managed several music stores, Bob moved with his family to Great Falls, Montana, and eventually Hickory, NC to follow his father's corporate work. After Bob graduated from Claremont High School in Hickory, NC, he began studies in music at Appalachian State University, and later graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. Upon graduation, he soon decided to pursue a career in law and entered the School of Law at UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his Juris Doctorate and was admitted to the N.C. State Bar in 1967. Before taking on the voice of the less fortunate as a public defender, Bob worked for State Farm Insurance as a claims adjuster. After his professional transition to an assistant attorney in the Public Defender's Office in 1973, it was not long until the persistent and hard-working Bob would ascend to the role as Chief Public Defender. Serving as Public Defender from 1979 to 2007, Bob had proven to be steadfast, loyal, compassionate, and a champion for those unable to defend themselves. If anything was certain, Bob was a man of passion – a virtue that not only informed his career, but infiltrated his personal life as well. He reveled in the time spent with family, friends, and co-workers, often hosting vivacious parties. No less the entertainer, he cooked up fantastic culinary creations, toasted with the best of them, and did so with an endearing smile and charming wit. Bob was also a man of varied interests; he loved music and was an avid shag dancer, as he would often take trips to Myrtle Beach and Greenville, where he inevitably cultivated lasting friendships. In addition to his dancing trips, a great deal of his leisurely time was spent on family outings to his parents' cabin in Linville, NC. To say that Bob had possessed a stalwart character would be a modest observation. His generousness knew no bounds and his unabashed confidence commanded earnest respect. He was a fighter who tested his resolve right until the very end. Even when sick, he had a penchant for inciting the laughter of those around him; and though his departure is final, his legacy will live on in the hearts of those who knew him well. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Gaylord and Virginia Hufstader; two children, Karen Hufstader and James Michael Hufstader (both infants). He is survived by two children: Trina Hufstader of Asheville, NC and John Hufstader of Asheville, NC; brother, Ronald Alan Hufstader and his fiancee, Nancy Taylor, of El Paso, Texas; niece, Lindsey Erin Hufstader of Austin, Texas; cousin, Robert Hufstader (Rusty) of Middleburg, Florida; aunt, Vera Walker Virden of Kahoka, Missouri; the mother of his children, Jean Baker. The family would like to thank the caregivers of TLC For You, Inc. and CarePartners Hospice for their love and support. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to CarePartners Hospice in Asheville, PO Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813. A memorial service is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Friday, January 27, 2012, in the Patton Avenue chapel of Groce Funeral Home with the Rev. Dr. Robert Blackburn officiating. His family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Bob was a great man and I loved getting to know him and his family . I’m very Thankful I had the chance to work with him . He was a very caring and giving man . May God give you all peace with in your hearts and souls .

  2. Bob was a great man. He will be missed greatly. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
    Chief Public Defender

  3. Please accept our condolences,We are thinking of you during this difficult time.Our thoughts and prayers are with you.As you grieve know that we are remembering you and honoring the memory of “BOB”. We pray the love of God enfolds you during your journey through grief. We send you thoughts of comfort. Peace, Prayers and Blessings, The Bladen County Magistrate Office.

  4. Bob will always be in my memories as a person who gave and cared. You can’t deny that he was a heck of fighter during this latest ordeal.

  5. Trina, John and Jean,
    While our hearts break we know that Bob is now at peace and pain free. He was the best neighbor any one could ever want. We will miss his wit and wisdom. Bob will continue to live on in the hearts of those who love him. Peace and comfort to you all – we are here for you.

  6. Jean, please know that you and the kids are in my thoughts and prayers right now. If there is anything you need let me know.

  7. Bob was a compassionate and able and spirited defender of those less fortunate than most of us. He was a very good friend and will be missed by all whom he touched. Goodbye my friend.

  8. Bob, was always a stand up kind of guy. When we lose people like Bob, we lose a part of ourselves. Paul Rifkin

  9. Bob, was always a stand up kind of guy. When we lose people like Bob, we lose a part of ourselves. Paul Rifkin

  10. I can attest to Bob’s concern for others. I always saw this in him is his law practice. I always enjoyed opportunities to work with him, and he was always kind and fair to me. I know his kids will miss him very much.

  11. When I first moved to Asheville in 1980 and was working in the courthouse, my car door handle FROZE and I couldn’t get in. Bob was so kind and patient, in the freezing cold, while he poured hot coffee from his thermos on it to thaw it out. Problem solved! I always remember this kindness of a fellow Public Defender.

  12. Bob’s passing is a sorrow, but we are blessed with his memory. He was a first-rate person, a credit to the legal community, and a blessing to those he helped.

  13. I will forever be thankful to have had the opportunity to serve under Mr. ‘H’ as an assistant public defender. He was a compassionate teacher, mentor and friend and will be missed.

  14. Bob was one of the men that made me want to pursue a career in law, and gave me my first introduction to it when I interned with his office. He will be missed.

  15. What a true friend. When I began my career as a Law Enforcement Officer in 1974 I met Bob. What a voracious defender of men. Although we were ‘on opposite sides’ he became one of my most cherished friends. He WILL be missed by those in the legal community on ‘both sides’.

    There was only one Bob. Rest in Peace My Friend and Family, seek your peace with the Lord! He is no longer suffering.

  16. Bob touched our hearts, my husband, Shane and I will always remember the wonderful times with him. He came to our wedding in Lake Lure and he brought his children and it meant so much to us! I will miss my kiss from him at Chili’s…such a sweet man. We will miss him….Shane and Barbra

  17. To Bob’s family,

    As a fellow lawyer and sometime YMCA workout friend of Bob’s, I concur wholeheartedly with the description of Bob in his obituary. A good man and a compassionate lawyer. My sincere condolences to the family.

  18. He was my first real boss at my first real job. It was an experience I will always cherish and never forget, just like him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  19. I really appreciated Bob’s integrity when I worked with him at the Public Defender’s Office. He was also always helpful to criminal defense lawyers. The community will miss his presence.
    My condolences to his loved ones.

  20. Bob was many things, and every one of them went straight to your heart. A fine lawyer, a philosopher king, and just a deeply fun and funny man. I am grateful for his gentle leadership and will always cherish working with him. Since he knew everybody and almost everything worth knowing, I am confident he knew how much he was loved and how much he’ll be missed. Goodbye, Boss!

    Brian Lee Knopp

  21. My most sincere sympathy to the family of Mr Hufstader.I worked in the courthouse with Mr Hufstader for several years.He was a gentleman and an all around good person. He will definitely be missed.Rest In Peace Mr Hufstader

  22. Bob was a great asset to the community and the Bar and his love of life was easy to see. We shared Ytime and a passion for justice. My prayers are with the family. Susan M. Dotson-Smith, Smitty

  23. Bob was a very caring individual who possessed great strength and integrity. His presence will be sorely missed by all.

  24. Bob what should be my last words to you? You were my best friend and you brought so many laughs and smiles to my life. I remeber when you looked at me and said, ‘ Tasha you are one of the most chiper people I know.’ Bob being around you made me that way. Thank you for allowing me to know you and your family. Bob I will keep my promise. Your gone but I will never forget anything you taught me.

  25. Bob was a fine man and a great lawyer. He will be missed and the legal profession is diminished by his passing.

  26. I was saddened to learn of Bob’s passing. I worked with Bob and his staff for many years. He was such a good man with a gentle soul and a wonderful sense of humor. He will truly be missed.

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