William Harry Hughes, 76, was born in New Jersey in 1936 and passed away unexpectedly on July 12, 2013.
He lived his entire childhood in Maplewood, N.J., which is the setting for most of his tales of childhood mischief. He graduated from Columbia High School and Newark College of Engineering, an Air Force ROTC cadet at both. If asked to describe himself, he would first mention family, but in close second, he would describe himself as a fighter pilot. He served as an Air Force second lieutenant, flying F-104 fighter jets.
After leaving the Air Force, Bill worked as a mechanical engineer (with a professional engineer license) and raised his small family in New Jersey, Wyoming and California. An avid outdoorsman, he shared his deep love for the mountains, lakes and fishing with his family, taking them on many rugged camping trips. He also loved puttering in his “shop” and shared his love of tinkering with his son and daughter.
As an engineer and pilot, he had a great respect for safety and installed seat belts in the backseats of his family’s cars long before they were available to the general masses.
In 1986, as the father of the bride, Bill met Linda Lorenzen (mother of the groom) at their children’s wedding. They fell in love and married nine months later. This blended family gave him great joy. He loved nothing more than gathering together and sharing life. He expressed great pride in the successes of his children and grandchildren, and his eyes frequently welled with emotion as he watched them grow. His friends also gave him happiness during their weekly “appointments” for breakfast, golf or target shooting.
Bill will be remembered for his mischievous sense of humor, stories of flying escapades and childhood pranks, and very bad jokes. The twinkle in his eye as he tried to act serious belied the kind, gentle soul that he was.
He will be deeply missed by his wife of 26 years, Linda Lorenzen-Hughes, and his blended family: Nancy (Mark), Chuck (Vanessa), Thomas (Julie), Mark (Nancy), Andrea (Tony); nine loving grandchildren, Kirsten, Megan, Will, Josh, Paige, Jake, Sonja, Conner and Cody; his sister, Nancy Richardson; and many family members across the country. Bill was predeceased by his parents, William and Grace Hughes.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations in Bill’s name to either Sarah House, 2614 Modoc Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, or your favorite charity.