Marjorie A. Hughes (1913 - 2004)

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Longtime Alaskan and Anchorage resident Marjorie A. Hughes, 90, died April 30, 2004, at Mary Conrad Center in Anchorage. She was born August 7, 1913 in Creston, IA, to Dr. John A. and Mary Ellen Anstey. Marjorie was the third of five children.
After completing her B.A. in Education (with minors in Physical Education and Music) at the University of South Dakota (she was a member of the Alpha Xi Delta Sorority), she joined the American Red Cross in 1942, serving in Fort Leonard Wood, MO, and Alamogordo, NM at Army Hospitals. She worked in a veterans' hospital in Minneapolis and taught school in Tucson after World War II. In 1946 Marjorie became the Young Adult Coordinator at the YWCA in San Bernardino.
In 1948, Marjorie traveled to Kodiak to marry her college sweetheart, John C. Hughes. They had met at the University of South Dakota, where John was in law school. They were married in St. Mary's Church on January 31, 1948.
The family soon included Mary Katherine and Patricia Ann, both born in Kodiak. The family moved to Anchorage in 1951 when John became a law partner with Davis Renfrew & Hughes (now Hughes Thorsness Powell Huddleston & Bauman, LLC). Bridget was born three years later.
Marjorie was a member of the Holy Family Ladies Altar Society and a volunteer at The Bishop's Attic. She also was engaged in Anchorage Lions Club activities.
She proudly supported John in all of his and the law firm's endeavors. She ran the family home expertly and efficiently. She was a master pie maker whose perfect crusts cradled rich rhubarb, lemon, pecan, and pumpkin fillings. Her house was always filled with a succession of dinner guests (particularly the girls' friends and young lawyers from the firm). Guests never left hungry. She was also a skilled seamstress and made many identical dresses for her three girls. Marjorie was a pianist and vocalist, and she arranged music lessons for the girls with some of the best musicians in Anchorage. Always remarkably energetic, she took ski lessons for a year in her mid-60s, about the same time she returned to college to study for (and pass) the Alaska real estate exam. Her Midwestern work ethic, combined with her Depression Era childhood, made her an irresistible force in organizing the home, educating the children, and refurbishing the rentals she and John accumulated. She was often the instigator of the projects that kept the family constantly engaged.
The family lived for many years on Ninth Avenue. When the polio epidemic struck Anchorage, Marjorie and John moved the family temporarily to their rustic log cabin on East 88th, where she cooked all meals, and baked bread and the usual pies, on a ship's stove. When statehood arrived, she and the rest of the family attended the great Statehood Bonfire, a block from the Ninth Avenue home. She and the family rode out the Good Friday Earthquake in Holy Family Cathedral returning home to find all intact. In 1973, she and John moved to a new home on East 88th. They also enjoyed their gracious townhome in Green Valley, AZ for thirty years.
Marjorie is survived by her husband of 56 years, John C. Hughes; daughters and sons-in-law, Mary Katherine Hughes and Andrew Eker, Bridget Hughes and Stephen Walsh, and Robert L. Eastaugh; grandchildren, Carol Hughes Eastaugh, John Frederick Eastaugh, and Sean Hughes Walsh; step-grandchildren, J.R. Eker, Erin Ann Eker, and Cindy Lee McGrath and their children, all of Anchorage; brother, Dr. George Anstey of St. Louis, MO and sister, Veronica O'Neill of Clarion, IA.
She was preceded in death by her daughter, Patricia Ann Hughes Eastaugh, and her sister, Helen van Antwerp of Chicago, IL and her brother, John Eugene Anstey of Massena, IA.
Although she always remembered fondly her childhood in Massena and loved her time in the Arizona sun, Marjorie most cherished her life in Alaska. She loved and supported her family. And her home was one in which all were welcome (and fed well). She lived a wonderful, fulfilled life that is forever memorable. And her last days were blessed with the tender loving care she received in the Cedar Court of the Mary Conrad Center.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on July 27, 2017