Philip John Huber was born March 9, 1958, to Patrick Wendell and Molly Ruth Huber (deceased), in Roswell, New Mexico. Phil was the youngest of three children born to the Hubers. Mary Faith Huber (deceased) and Judith A. Johnson were Phil’s older sisters. Peter L. Martinez was an adopted brother, that the Hubers adopted via Operation Peter Pan in the early 60s. Peter lived with The Hubers until his mother could be brought into our country from Cuba.
Phil attended Midland High School and Stratford High School. He participated in Band and was part of the cheerleading squad. He also worked with the school’s year book, and played basketball and football. Phil graduated from Stratford High in Houston Texas in 1976. He attended The University of Houston and studied Radio/TV/Film. Phil graduated in 1980 from The University of Houston.
Phil’s preparedness and willingness to go the extra mile helped him score the biggest news story of the day while working as a news photographer in Midland Texas, when Baby Jessica McClure fell down the well in Midland Texas, October 14, 1987. His microphone, duct tape, and a XLR cable coupled with his news camera helped determine if the child was still alive. Over the next 56 hours people came from all over to work their way down 22 feet and retrieve the 18-month-old child. His feed of the event went out over the wire nationally and around the world. For 56 hours the world hung onto every second of Phil’s footage captured during the rescue.
Phil spent most of his adult life traveling the country picking up stories and sharing them with others. He worked in the electronic news gathering business for many years, working with news organizations, in both Midland, Texas and Mobile, Alabama. He earned his title, “Lens Mule” by covering fires, hurricanes, crashes, and dignitaries, always capturing the moment of the day and recording it for others to see.
He opened his own production house and produced several local and nationally distributed programs. Programs like Tuesday Night Thunder, Gulf Coast Spotlight on local access, then Southern Experience, Arca Racing this Week, The American Rifleman, and Circle of Honor distributed nationally via The Outdoor Channel. He was also a freelance shooter and worked with companies, shooting racing, fishing, football, and all kind of other creative gigs. He was a natural-born storyteller. A storyteller with a heart as big as Texas and a creative streak a mile wide.
Phil and I met about 1993 or 1994. He had just left Channel 5 and was in full blown business-building mode with his new company, Parallax Productions. The journey we took together would cover the country and the latter part of Phil’s life. Along many of those trips, Phil began to teach me about his world. Together we put together an outreach program that allowed us to mentor to young men and women and teach them a marketable skill. The Odd Ducks came to be a force to be sought after in the production world. What started as idea on those long rides, has produced a lasting legacy that could continue decades from now.
Phil was a loving, caring, gentle soul; he wanted to help everyone. In fact, he made it his life’s mission to help others. His pay-it-forward philosophy became the motivation for his existence. He was known as “Dad” to at least 50 children who wore the ODB colors, but even before ODB, Phil had invested a lifetime in others’ educations and helping them to become their best selves.
Phil suffered his first stroke about twelve years ago. His nephew, Patrick Wihl, found him approximately three days after his stroke. Phil fought his way back to health but the storyteller had lost his voice. The stroke caused Phil to have a bad case of aphasia. Phil lost his business, his home, his ability to speak; he lost everything except his life and his friends.
He was fortunate to find Murray House. Murray House is where Phil lived the last twelve years of his life. While many would have been bitter and mad at the world, Phil made the best of his situation. He always made the best of bad situations throughout his career and after his career came crashing to a close, he continued to lead and help others. The examples he set were truly an inspiration to all who came to know him. His calm acceptance of the situation at hand helped others to see their way out of the forest.
Phil found a path to be creative again. He didn’t lose his framing, composition, or photographic abilities. He was never without his iPad nor the ability to snap a good photo or roll a few seconds of recording. He relearned how to tell the story without ever uttering a word. His pictures and his video told the story for him. He would see it for you. His vision of our world, even with his impaired abilities, shined through for all to see.
One last thing, Phil was a dog lover and his dogs loved him. His dogs were his best friends. He would always smile and say to me, “Unconditional love right there, that’s what really makes the world go around, unconditional love.” I have always been told that dogs are really good judges of character. I have to agree. Phil was one the good guys and our world will be a darker place without him in it.
He left behind a lasting legacy. A legacy whose story has yet to be written. Phil lived his life at 200 mph but he always had time to lend a helping hand and share a piece of timely advice or instruction. He worked at making other peoples lives better. We could all be more like Philip John Huber. He was a Lens Mule of the first order who saw the world through rose-colored glasses and he shared that vision with us all.
Philip John Huber passed in the morning of April 14, 2022.
He is survived by his sister, Judith Johnson, adopted brother, Peter L. Martinez an their extended families; his brothers and sisters of The Odd Duck Brotherhood; and a multitude of coworkers and friends.
May God grant Phil the welcome words: “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” He surely deserves it.
-A. Lee Abbett Sr.