June 23, 1931 - Sept. 15, 2013
Resident of Redwood City
Peter Hughes passed away Sunday September 15, 2013 after a short illness. He was born in Minneapolis, MN to immigrant parents. He had an older brother, Michael, who passed away several years ago. He grew up in Minnesota until age 12, when his family moved to Ottawa, Canada, to be near his army father, who later took part in the Normandy Invasion.
After the war the family returned to the Midwest. Pete was an all state high school football player and attended Macallister College in St. Paul, MN on a football scholarship. After graduation he entered the Navy and was on active duty until 1958. He was proud of serving his country and believed millions like him who served in the armed forces at this period won the cold war over the Soviet Union. He left the Navy as a full lieutenant.
Pete arrived in Redwood City directly from the Navy and knew he had found the town of his dreams. He started the Hughes Plastics Corporation which became the best in the world at plastic thermo/pressure forming. Customers were throughout the United States and Europe. He also had a partner in Shanghai, China. After 30 years of successful free enterprise he retired in 1990.
Pete was active in many civic organizations including Rotary, the Peninsula Celebration Association, the Chamber of Commerce, Casa de Redwood, The Police Activities League, youth sports teams, St. Pius Church, and others. Among his proudest accomplishments were the founding of the Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Club and being named one of the three "Petes" of the Kainos "Petes Place." He won many awards for his civic service as well as being named to the Bay Area Plastic Hall of Fame.
Pete had a lifetime of service in Rotary. He participated in almost all Rotary activities, including fireworks sales, programs, golf tournaments, the Great American Duck Race, sergeant at arms activities, etc. He chaired dozens of meals prepared and served to the residents of Casa de Redwood, a local low income senior HUD facility. He led painting crews at three Habitat for Humanity builds, at one project he worked 34 straight days, including weekends. He was the first chairman of the Rotary Car Raffle, which has raised more than half a million dollars for the community. While he was president he presided over the installation of the first women to be included in his Rotary Club.
Pete was a great father, husband, and friend, always ready to help anyone or anything in the community. He had a generous Irish spirit. He loved travel and visited almost 100 countries. For over 20 years he had a sailboat, The Reward" berthed at Gashouse Cove in San Francisco and loved sailing the bay. Pete loved the Sierras and took many backpacking trips through the mountains. He considered himself a great cook, but really only cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Almost his entire life he was either self employed or retired and he reveled in being able to do almost every day what he wished to do that day. His words, "I've lived a lucky life and die satisfied."
He is survived by his wife, Ginny, five children, seven grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Donations to Kainos Petes Place are suggested in lieu of flowers.
There will be a celebration of Pete's life from 1- 4 pm. Sunday, October 6, at the American Legion Hall, 651 El Camino Real, in Redwood City.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Sept. 22, 2013