James J. Hughes ’57, P’82 died on September 2, 2020 in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.
(The following was published by The Boston Globe on September 9, 2020)
James J. Hughes, of Yarmouth Port, passed away peacefully on September 2nd after a courageous battle with cancer with his loving family at his side. He was 85. He will always be loved and remembered for his integrity, intelligence, generosity, and deep love of family. Born in Boston in 1935, the son of the late Gilbert Hughes and Evelyn (Cameron) Hughes, Jim grew up in Brunswick, Maine and graduated from Brunswick High School in 1953. At Bowdoin College, Class of 1957, he was proud to join Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He kept his Bowdoin brothers and their spouses close, as they met each summer at Little Island Motel on Bailey Island for endless card games, laughter, sharing memories, and renewing their love of Maine’s beauty, clean air, and the best lobsters on the East Coast. He met the love of his life, his wife Pat, while both were working at Filene’s Basement in Boston. They married in 1958 and lived in Reading, MA where Pat taught school. Jim joined the Morse Shoe Company when discount store shoe retailing was just being tested. Morse had the innovative idea of leasing space in discount store chains and owning and operating the footwear departments. He was instrumental in expanding the company’s retail outlets throughout the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. During Jim’s long career with Morse, he steadily rose in the leadership ranks, becoming Executive Vice President and President. At age 75, Jim wrote a memoir for his grandchildren because his life growing up in Maine was so different from theirs. He learned to do a man’s work at a young age, helping his father chop wood, dig wells, and mow their two-acre yard with a push mower. He and his dog Bio roamed and explored the surrounding woods all day long with no supervision except to be home in time for dinner. He listened to The Shadow on the radio, watched double feature movies for ten cents, shared a telephone line with six other families, and collected tinfoil and milkweed during World War II. He developed his love of country music by listening to the Grand Ole Opry with his radio under his bedcovers at night. He always said he was lucky to be born in 1935, the year with the lowest birth rate in the 20th century, because it meant less competition for jobs. In 1998, he and Pat retired to Kings Way in Yarmouth Port. They joined the golf club and Jim, an avid golfer, enjoyed many happy hours on the course. Bridge was another of Jim’s passions and he joined an active bridge group. Weekly poker afternoons soon followed and became a highlight of his week. A devoted sports fan, Jim followed all of Boston’s sports teams. When their children had grown and finished college, Jim and Pat then shared many years of stimulating travel. Their new home had plenty of room for the many visits from their children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends to share with them the joy of living on Cape Cod. Jim is survived by his wife of 62 years, Patricia (Whitmore) Hughes; his children Pamela Hughes and her husband Andrew Ishee of San Diego, CA; Holly Neukom and her husband Markus Neukom of St. Gallen, Switzerland; and James Hughes, Jr. and his wife Stephanie of Southborough; four grandchildren, Cameron Nell and Carroll James Ishee and Haley and Cole Hughes; his brother Paul Hughes of Weymouth; sister Dolly Hughes of Framingham, along with his cousins, nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.