Bret “Roy” Huggins was born December 12, 1976 in Palo Alto, California and died November 19, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. He was honored to be named after his grandfather, Roy Huggins, a Hollywood screenwriter.
Roy grew up largely in Hermosa Beach, California, after his family moved from Santa Rosa, California. Roy attended both Redondo Beach High School and Chadwick High School and shared the joy of playing football and singing in choir with his brother Colin before going on to study music at Grinnell College, graduating in 1999.
At Grinnell his instrument of focus was his voice, and he proudly performed “Broken Ground” (composed by Jonathan L. Chenette) as a Bass/Baritone in Grinnell Singers in May 1996 to celebrate the State of Iowa and Grinnell College’s Sesquicentennial in Carnegie Hall, New York City; his other favorite to perform was Rachmaninoff’s Vespers. He maintained his love of singing through Booth Karaoke ever after. He founded and led a Dagorhir-affiliated sword-fighting group which persisted decades after his graduation. He stayed in Grinnell, Iowa for two more years to co-found and operate with friends one of the small town’s first web development firms. It would be the first in a series of successful businesses. In 2001 he transitioned with other friends to Portland, Oregon. Shortly thereafter he met Electra Allenton (née Allen-Tonar) by inviting her to his newly-formed Portland sword-fighting group held on Reed College campus. Their love escalated quickly, and his example inspired her to attend Grinnell College as well for the duration of their three year engagement.
In Portland, he continued a successful solo career in web development until he realized he was so successful not because of coding but because of how he could coach and guide his clients. He changed careers and obtained his Masters of Science Education: Counseling from Portland State University, class of 2007. After graduating and marrying the love of his life, he and his wife moved to Portland’s sister city Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, for three years to teach all levels of grade school, finding many friends and chosen family on both sides of the Pacific. So many that he’s even officiated at least four weddings!
Upon return to Portland, Roy was invited back to his alma mater PSU to teach Ethics and Intro to Psychological Diagnosis yearly until his death. He also served as a member of his professional licensure board’s rules advisory committee for several years, guiding policy on technology use and internet security in the field of mental health. He provided expert testimony for civil and criminal cases regarding counseling technology, and authored several textbook chapters.
However, teaching was a side hustle. His life’s work and deep purpose was found in two realms. First, in his multinational bilingual counseling practice, with focus in Internal Family Systems therapy and in Emotion Focused Couples therapy. Second, in building a thriving and nationally respected consulting company, Person Centered Tech, which assists single providers and small group practices reach HIPAA compliance. At the beginning of the pandemic, mental health providers found them integral as a trusted resource for securely transitioning to tele-mental health. Through Person Centered Tech he is beloved by hundreds if not thousands of members of the counseling, social work, psychology, and related professions across North America for his kindness and ability to make complex topics like ethics, infosec, and the Internet understandable and applicable. Here again, his big, strong, kind leadership created a chosen family of business partners and treasured employees.
He is survived by his wife, Electra L. Allenton, and their two cats. He is also survived by his beloved older brother Colin B. Huggins, his newly reconnected older sister Anna Morris, his nephews and niece, his wife’s extended family who adored and welcomed him, and his business partners Brian K. Smith and Liathana Dalton, his fellow Grinnell alumni, his ALT buddies, his counseling cohort, and the rest of his immense and diverse community of colleagues and friends, too many to list.
He died at home but was cared for at the very, very end by Oregon Health and Science University hospital, and his remains have been cared for by Threadgill Memorial. His Celebration of Life will be held in January 2022. Learn more of how to be involved here: https://royhuggins.wixsite.com/remembering-roy/ Please sing aloud to any song in remembrance of his joy, and hug the people and pets you love.