John C. Hughes, son of Dr. Coit I. Hughes and Hattrude Chrisman Hughes, was born at home, delivered by his father on February 18, 1923 in Phoenix, Arizona. A member of a founding pioneer family, his grandfather, Dr. Henry Adams Hughes, rode from Texas to Phoenix in 1882. John was a beloved and extraordinary man of an indomitable spirit who died peacefully on Oct. 22, 2008, surrounded by his family.
John attended Emerson Elementary, Phoenix Union High School, Phoenix College, and the University of Arizona, where he was a Sigma Nu. In 1942 he left the U of A to join the U.S. Navy and served in the South Pacific as a 2nd Lieutenant on the U.S.S. St. George. During the invasion of Kerama Retto and Okinawa he survived a kamikaze attack upon his ship. He received personal commendation from the commander of the Fifth Fleet and remained in the Naval Reserves until 1954. After the war he returned to the U of A where he completed his undergraduate degree and graduated from law school in 1950. John practiced law in Phoenix with his brother in the law firm of Hughes and Hughes and retired in 1995.
He married Nancy Kinney in 1949 and together they raised five children. John was elected to the Arizona State House of Representatives in 1958. He maintained an active interest in local and national politics and always felt a citizen’s obligation to be involved in civic life.
His family’s pioneer legacy was a source of great pride to John. A descendant of Henry Adams of Quincy, Massachusetts, John C as he was respectfully and affectionately known was an inveterate student of history and fostered a love of Arizona with his family. He was an avid hunter and fisherman who loved sailing, car racing, scuba diving, skiing, boxing, a fine horse and his dogs.
John was a proud member of The First Families of Arizona. Other associations included the Sports Car Club of America, R.O.N.S. Club, The Saints, Fraternal Order of Police, Phoenix Country Club, Verde Vaqueros and the Valley Field Riding and Polo Club.
Embracing “old school” morals, Dad never wavered from the core values he demonstrated every day of his life. He had an uncompromising faith in family and believed family unity and love were essential to a successful life. The education of his children and grandchildren was of great importance to him. Dad’s personal commitment and responsibility is our legacy. He is survived by his children, Nan Hughes, Wendy Pitha Nick, John, Leslie, Michael, Alison, Betsy Baker, Tom; and grandchildren, Mary, Wendy, Emily, Nicholas, Carey, Chrisman, Clara, and Kinney.
A celebration of John’s life will take place on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008, at 2:00 P.M. at the Valley Field Riding and Polo Club, 2530 N. 64th St., Scottsdale, AZ. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in honor of John C. Hughes to The First Families of Arizona, c/o Phoenix Museum of History, 105 N. 5th St., Phoenix, AZ 85004.