94, was born in Phoenix, Arizona on September 26, 1920. Her parents, H. Bernard Hughes and Cecilia Kelly Hughes were pioneer Arizona cattle ranchers in the Sunflower, Four Peaks area of the Tonto National Forest. Her children continue to be involved in the operations of the Circle Bar Ranch.
Mary attended St. Mary’s grammar and high school in Phoenix and mastered an Associate’s Degree at the University of Arizona. Mary Nell was an active participant in the “Pi Phi” sorority, was a lifelong parishioner of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, (walked to 5 am mass every day from her home on 3rd street), and passionately volunteered in the “Marian shop”. Mary was a “take no prisoners” bridge player, loved the outdoors, her roses, watched U of A sports terrified through her covered face and fingers, and entertaining the family, especially her grandchildren.
In the 60’s she witnessed the graduation of 2 sons, and 6 nephews from Brophy College Prep & 2 daughters and 5 nieces from Xavier College Prep. She was a mother, grandmother, confidant and friend. Her family is happy that she is in the arms of all that have longed for her in heaven.
Mary is preceded in death by brothers John and Tom Hughes and sister Adelyn Kilbane. She is survived by sons and daughters John III, Brian, Sally and Adelyn Whitney as well as 7 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren. Always of “good cheer”, she moved everybody she knew with her infectious, positive spirit.
A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 am with a visitation at 9:00 am on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. Interment will follow at St. Francis Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Hospice of Arizona.