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Dr. Raymond Joseph McHugh Jr.


1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Dr.  Raymond Joseph McHugh Jr. Obituary
1921 - 2017 96 years old Of San Carlos, formerly of San Fernando Valley Educator - Veteran - Friend Dr. Raymond McHugh taught at California State University Northridge (CSUN) in a long career starting in 1963. He served as chair of the Department of Secondary Education for five years, and became Professor emeritus in 1992, after retiring at age 70. He steered a generation of students into becoming good history teachers, emphasizing the importance of visuals and original sources - maps, places, cartoons, slide shows. He co-authored a textbook on U.S. History, Quest for Liberty, and also wrote several short histories of the CSUN School of Education. Ray's background in Army life and working as a student "hasher", serving food in Stanford dining rooms, developed his brand of humor: humble and quirky. Ray knew hardship and never took for granted the good things that came his way. In 1970, Ray married Nancy nee Spicer, a noted Los Angeles high school English teacher and leader in her field. They were devoted to each other for forty-two years until she passed away in 2012. Ray was an active community member who led neighborhood committees on their street in Sherman Oaks, and he supported groups such as A.S.H. Action on Smoking and Health. At the college he was a founding member of CSUN's University Club, now the Orange Grove Bistro. He and Nancy spent leisure time with their friends, and with Ray's four children and Nancy's two. Ray and Nancy's favorite destinations included Honolulu, Yosemite, and Graeagle in the Sierras. Ray valued travel's educational possibilities - he journeyed to six continents - and took his family on trips around the USA. Trains brought special joy; if they were involved, his enjoyment doubled. Ray also liked photographing people and places, and was an avid writer and documenter. When grandchildren and stepgrandchildren were born, Ray and Nancy doted on them. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ray was the eldest of four children. His father Raymond McHugh, Sr. was of Irish ancestry and his mother Esther, nee Knab, had German background. His formative years were marked by the Great Depression and the family had to move a lot. Ray was a good student; he loved reading and libraries, and was proud he didn't miss a day in his final years of study at Cincinnati's Withrow High School. Working throughout his schooling, his best job was movie theatre usher. He got free movie tickets for his family - a treat when money was short, and television didn't exist. Ray's network of Ohio cousins grounded him and contributed to the importance he placed on family. In World War 2 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was based at Santa Ana, serving four years. Imperfect eyesight meant he couldn't be a cadet, but knowledge of typing and shorthand, which his father had insisted he learn, ensured a skilled role for him. In Southern California he discovered a love for the beach. His Ohio family (except for one sister) joined him on the West Coast, moving to Manhattan Beach. Ray attended Stanford University on the G.I. Bill which paid veterans' college tuition. A 'forty-niner', he graduated in the Class of 1949, paving the way for other family members who attended Stanford. Ray received a Master's Degree in 1953 from Columbia University in New York, and earned his doctorate degree from Stanford in 1964, becoming a Doctor of education. Undergrad days at Stanford were fun, rooming with the late Bill Earle, who became a great friend and Angora Lake buddy. Ray also met his first wife Jerry nee Fitch (deceased) and they had three daughters and one son together before the marriage ended. He was a responsible and nurturing father, stepfather, and uncle. Before starting his Doctoral degree, he taught high school for several years at East Nicolaus north of Sacramento, relishing the hands-on aspects in the tiny district. He drove the school bus, and taught driver's ed and typing, as well as academic subjects. Ray was a people person. He also taught at Capuchino High School in the San Mateo district. His stepson David Pomatti, a university teacher in Nagoya, Japan, said "Ray was a guiding intelligence for me in education and a fountain of useful advice and good humor." In his 90s Ray appreciated new friends he made at the San Carlos Elms. Rarely sick in his life, he acknowledged his good luck. He also jogged for many years, and subscribed to the adage "everything in moderation". He passed away on December 27th, at home with family and friends. Ray is remembered for his optimistic outlook and sense of fun. Although he was not religious he lived by "the golden rule" treating others as he would like to be treated. He was good company, and will be sorely missed. Ray's beloved sisters Marjorie Stuntz and Carol Yokoi predeceased him. He is survived by his esteemed brother Dr. Thomas McHugh of Woodland Hills. Ray is missed by his fond children Barbara, Douglas, Kathleen and Robin; and their spouses (Mark, Alyssa, Greg and Chris); caring stepsons David Pomatti and Tom Pomatti (and wife Kate); eight loving grandchildren and stepgrandchildren; and treasured nieces and nephews. A private service will be held. Donations may be made to the Oviatt Library, CSUN.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 14, 2018
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