William "Bill" F. Hughes of Rangeley, Maine passed away peacefully Saturday, April 23, surrounded by his family at his son Christopher's home in Raleigh, NC. Bill succumbed after a long bout with lung cancer although he never smoked. Bill Hughes was born in Ash, NC on October 20, 1930, but moved to Pittsburgh, PA at a young age. Upon graduating from Taylor Allderdice High School, Bill attended Carnegie Mellon University (Carnegie Institute of Technology then) as the recipient of an academic scholarship provided by The Mesta Machine Co, where he earned a Doctorate Degree of Mechanical Engineering. Bill went on to study one year at Cambridge University, England under a Post Doctoral Fellowship provided by the National Science Foundation and then became a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at his alma mater. Early in his career, Bill was also a visiting lecturer at The University of Sydney, Australia as a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. During his long tenure at Carnegie Mellon, Bill authored or coauthored numerous publications, including six books, some of which have been translated into multiple languages and are still being used as text books at universities throughout the World. Much of Bill's professional focus was in magnetohydrodynamics and fluid dynamics, a subject in which he would become one of the world's preeminent authorities. It was primarily in this capacity that he consulted regularly for The Rand Corporation, Westinghouse and NASA, which included work on the Space Shuttle Program and various projects for the Military. Bill was awarded The George Tallman Ladd Professorship in 1989 and retired from Carnegie Mellon in 1993. Bill was an avid outdoorsman and was always physically active. He loved hiking and completed many sections of the Appalachian Trail. It was on a hiking trip in Maine during the 1980s that Bill first discovered the Rangeley Lakes Region and immediately fell in love with the area. Bill also enjoyed fly fishing, canoeing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Bill was an accomplished carpenter and woodworker. He constructed his previous house in rural Pennsylvania virtually by himself including all of the electrical, plumbing, and masonry work. Even more impressive was that he built the entire house, which took 18 years to finish without the use of power tools. Visitors were quite impressed by the scope of the project and how one man could have built it entirely by hand. Bill had an array of interests and hobbies. He kept a large garden at his previous home in Pennsylvania, which included fruit trees, grape orchards and several bee colonies; and he continued to keep a smaller garden in Maine until the last year of his life. Bill was also passionate about music, particularly classical, regularly attending the Pittsburgh Symphony and playing the piano. He was a zealous reader and maintained a large personal library. He loved traveling abroad and did so often. Bill was also a short wave radio enthusiast and enjoyed making contact with others from around the World. Bill and his wife Sue, who passed away in 2002, began spending vacations in Rangeley in 1985 and eventually moved permanently to their home on Mooselookmeguntic Lake in 1995. Both Bill and Sue were active in the Rangeley Community and were passionate about improving the quality of life and preserving the natural beauty of the Rangeley Lakes Region. Bill is survived by a son, Christopher of Raleigh, NC and his wife Pam; a son, Eric of Henderson, NV and his wife Sue; a sister, Peggy Ruslander of Naples, FL; and a niece, Lee Ann Freeman of Naples, FL. A memorial service will be held in Rangeley this summer at a time and place to be announced. In lieu of flowers, family suggests contributions may be made to The Rangeley Public Library, 7 Lake Street, PO Box 1150 Rangeley, Maine 04970 or The Hospice of Wake County Foundation, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Apr. 27, 2011