Hughie Hughes dies

Published 6:56 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

One man’s lifetime of participation in education and theater ended earlier this week when Hughie Hughes, 85, passed away.

Hughes was born in Whiting, Iowa, grew up in Decatur, Neb., served in World War II and attended various colleges eventually earning his doctorate degree in education. After retirement he and his wife, Gladys, became heavily involved in Picayune On Stage.

Hughie and Gladys Hughes met in college in 1941. They were married four years later and have been together ever since.

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“They were connected at the hip. They did it all together,” said daughter Bonnie Hughes.

While both Hughie and Gladys were serving in the military during World War II, Hughie sent Gladys a letter suggesting they get married. The next time they were both on leave they spent a week planning the wedding and tied the knot, Gladys said. She remembers Hughie paid only $11 for his wedding ring. He would tease her about never paying him back that $11. She now wears his ring on a chain around her neck.

“Oh, we had some good times,” Gladys said as she stroked the ring.

After the military, Hughie Hughes had a lasting career in education where he was a teacher of math and science, coach of baseball, basketball and football and eventually superintendent of schools in Irwin, Iowa for four years.

Hughie Hughes’ son and daughter described him as a good dad. Chuck Hughes, said he and his father would regularly attend Baylor University Football games while they lived in Waco, Texas. When he was 15, Chuck Hughes fondly remembered playing baseball with his dad. Each time Chuck Hughes tried to strike out his father somehow Hughie Hughes always managed to hit the ball.

Bonnie Hughes said when she was in middle school, her father would sneak into her plays so she would not see him watching.

“He was a good dad, a good grandpa,” Bonnie Hughes said.

While teaching at the University of New Orleans and living in Metarie, La., the Hughes family bought their current home in Hide-A-Way Lake in 1976 to use as a summer and weekend home. There, many weekends of skiing, swimming, and family time took place at the lake. That tradition carried on to the grandchildren as well, Bonnie Hughes said.

“Everything’s always better at the lake house,” she said.

Hughie Hughes coaxed his children to get an education. Bonnie Hughes recalled a time when her father said he needed two more people for a class, so he signed up Bonnie and Gladys for it. Each semester after that he would ask Bonnie Hughes what classes she would be taking next semester. His persistence prompted her to further her education and career. She is now a principal.

“He kept her nose to the grindstone,” Gladys Hughes said.

When Hughie and Gladys Hughes retired in 1985 from the University of New Orleans and moved to HAWL permanently Picayune On Stage, golf and cruises filled their free time. Gladys Hughes still has Hughie’s golf shoes next to the door where he left them.

“I don’t know how long I’ll leave them up there,” Gladys Hughes said, choking back a flood of emotions.

Hughie Hughes played a number of different parts during his tenure at Picayune On Stage. Some parts included a detective in “Busy Body”, a priest in “The Sound of Music”, the judge in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and a repairman in “Natalie Needs a Nightie”, Gladys Hughes said.

“He always liked to be in plays, so it was not unusual he would get involved with Picayune On Stage,” Gladys Hughes said.

For each play he would also make signs, stenciling each one.

Shows that Hughie Hughes did not perform in could expect him sitting front row at each performance, if he liked the show, Gladys Hughes said.

Memorial services for Hughie Hughes will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Hughie Hughes is survived by his wife, Gladys, his two children, Chuck and Bonnie, his brother, Shirley and four grandchildren.