Robert Epperson Hughes died Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, surrounded by his family.
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A native of Gadsden, he was a direct descendant of Gabriel Hughes and was the son of the late Dr. M.P. Hughes and Oma Epperson Hughes. He was involved in human rights work for more than 50 years. He graduated from the University of Alabama and held master's degrees from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and the Boston University School of Theology. He and his wife, Dorothy, married in 1953, and Bob served churches in Alabama before becoming executive director of the Alabama Council on Human Relations in 1954. He was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement in the South and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Continuing Bob's focus on human relations, he and Dottie were missionaries to the African countries of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Zambia from 1961 to 1966. Bob then began a career as a mediator with the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice.
After retiring from CRS in 1994, he chaired the Board of Church and Society for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church and served as coordinator of the Peace with Justice program of the conference. Bob's many interests included travel, University of Alabama football, church activities, Southern cuisine, relaxing up on Whidbey Island and family. Longtime Mercer Island residents, Bob and Dottie both have been active in Mercer Island United Methodist Church. In 2010, the couple moved to Timber Ridge retirement community in Issaquah.
Bob is survived by Dottie; their four daughters and their spouses; eight grandchildren; a sister, Marian Hughes Bahr of Providence, Utah; and other relatives.
Please visit http://flintofts.com/for online condolences.
Published in The Gadsden Times on Dec. 23, 2012