Services
Rose Mortuary
66424 Pierson Blvd.
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
760-251-7673
Celebration of Life
Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019
1:30 PM
Fountains at the Carlotta
41-505 Carlotta Drive
Palm Desert, CA
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James Arthur (Jim) Hughes


1938 - 2019
James Arthur (Jim) Hughes Obituary
James Arthur Hughes (Jim)

Palm Springs - James Arthur Hughes (Jim) never met a stranger. He loved people, so he never forgot a name, greeted everyone with a firm handshake and a magnetic smile as if he were the host of each occasion. His authentic curiosity about everyone made him a well-liked man and a skilled salesman who rose to District Sales Manager running the Milwaukee and Minneapolis sales offices during 40 years at US Steel.

Born in 1938, in Lakeview Oregon to Vera Miller Hughes (1913-2001) and Richard Lafayette Hughes (1911-1975), Jim had two siblings: his sister Nancy E. Hughes (1942-1979) whose daughter Sheryl Swaisgood survives him, and Jim was identical twin to Richard Hughes (Dick), who also survives him. Their youth was the stuff of Mark Twain novels: running wild and barefoot in the dusty central California orchards, making the best of hard, dirty work in agriculture, construction and being a brakeman on the railroad—sometimes with his father away serving as Army Corps of Engineers in WWII. But Jim's pockets were always full of one last dime, a smooth skipping stone and unsinkable inspiration, so Jim thrived and fulfilled many dreams in his lifetime.

Raised in Fresno, Jim graduated from Bullard High School in 1956 where he played football and tennis. Putting himself through college with railway work, Jim completed a BS in Business Administration in 1959 at UC Berkeley where he joined the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity—an organization he enjoyed as alumnus. Jim was an active Rotarian and Gyro and served on the Boards of Milwaukee School of Engineering and the Milwaukee Benedict Center.

Through his life, Jim relished sharing a laugh. Whether playing golf, tennis, hiking or socializing, Jim's jokes, chop-busters and affectionate teasing were a signature. Jim cheered on the Packers and UC Bears football almost as religiously as he sang clear and loud at his Presbyterian Church. Jim recognized his good fortune and thus volunteered regularly in many ways. He mentored teens through Rotary, Milwaukee. He volunteered on Care Day at the Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church. And he was enlisted in the Air National Guard and was in the Reserves for California Air National Guard for eight years.

But Jim's most treasured life experience was being a family man. He was the constant companion to his wife Nancy Marks Hughes, married for 56 loving years in a ceremony performed by Nancy's brother Harry Marks II in Los Angeles in 1963. Together, they raised two children in Highland Park, IL and Whitefish Bay, WI. Nancy and Jim retired to Indian Wells, CA in 2000 to be closer to family. Son Matthew Richard Hughes and his wife Denise Hughes and their children Madison (15) and Austin (14) Hughes and daughter Heather Elizabeth Hughes and her husband Trond Grenager and their children Jasper (15), Reed (14) and Arlo (10) Grenager also survive him. Together, the extended family gathered often to share meals, music and milestones. Jim was a loving and magnanimous father, grandfather, husband, friend, brother, best man in his son's wedding, Christian and host.

Jim died with family nearby after a decade-long, debilitating battle with neurological disease. Through it, Jim rarely let his limitations sour him. He was a gentleman to the end trying to hold doors from his wheelchair and cheering people up with one-liners through the increasing haze of his disease. He is so very loved.

Jim's family has engaged Rose Mortuary in Desert Hot Springs. A celebration of Jim's life is scheduled at 1:30 PM, October 12, 2019 at the Fountains at the Carlotta located at 41-505 Carlotta Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92211, 760-600-5904. If you would like to honor Jim by making a donation in his name, please consider the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, where Jim and Nancy volunteered, and which helps struggling families in the desert. (https://www.servicenetwork.com/olg/cvr/donate.aspx?utm_source=website&utm_medium=preheader&_ga=2.6484018.1037523594.1563537877-283398703.1563537877)
Published in The Desert Sun on Aug. 25, 2019
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