Donald Lee Hughes
Our father and friend, Donald Lee Hughes, 79 of Orange, died peacefully on Saturday July 30, 2022 at his residence, surrounded by his family. Born November 13,1942 in Orange County, he was the son of the late Claude Everett Hughes and Dorothy Jones Hughes. Donnie was an active and vital part of his community his entire life.
Whether you called him Don, Donald, Donnie, Dad, Pop, Uncle D, Mr. Hughes, or “the kitchen rat,” he was always the same funny, hardworking, dedicated, caring, and loving friend you could wish for. He certainly never knew a stranger and welcomed all with open arms. He loved cooking for the family, the church, and anyone who wandered in for a visit at the house. We have called our home a revolving door of hospitality and none who have ever visited left disappointed or hungry. His laugh could fill a room and cause everyone present to join him. His sense of humor that he used when he would host or MC local events was usually hilarious, mostly appropriate, and often self-deprecating.
He was a longtime member of Trinity United Methodist Church and Orange Baptist Church where he served as a deacon and frequent volunteer. Donnie was a retired magistrate and marriage commissioner for the 16th District of Orange and co-owned and operated Orange Paint Center for many years with his wife, Lil. He was a faithful member of Independent Orange Masonic Lodge 138 AF&AM. Donnie was also a lifetime member of Orange County Rescue Squad (1961 to 2001) and an honorary member of Madison County Rescue Squad. As a point of personal blessing, he delivered 9 babies during this time of service.
He found lifelong purpose and joy as a funeral director and embalmer for several local funeral homes, including at Preddy Funeral Home for over forty years. He brought his artist sensibilities to his calling in preparing departed loved ones for their celebration of life. He took great care with countless families, guiding them through their most difficult and trying moments. Anyone who encountered him knew they had met a talented man of honesty, integrity, love, and compassion.
Dad was an artist his entire life, using his gifts both for business and pleasure. Donnie designed the original hornet logo in 1959 for Orange County High School, hand-lettered and marked the area emergency service vehicles, was a sign painter for the community, and in these last two years he painted over 300 landscapes and still-life oils. Some of you reading this may even have one of his creations hanging in your home.
He is survived by wife, Lil Y. Hughes, daughter, Laura R. Hughes of Richmond and partner Nathan Eaans of Glendale, CA; son, Rev. Dr. Mark E. Hughes and wife Kelly of Dinwiddie and their three children, Stephen, Rachel and Daniel; two sisters, Phyllis A. Smith of Orange and Claudia J. Hughes of Newport News; numerous nieces and nephews and other relatives. He was a devoted husband, an encouraging father, brother and uncle, and a proud “Pop” for all of his immediate and adopted sons, daughters and grandkids.
Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Friday, August 5, 2022 at Preddy Funeral Home in Orange with interment to follow in Graham Cemetery. The Rev. Joshua Munnikhuysen will officiate. Masonic rites will be held at Graham Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 pm and from 6 to 8 pm on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at the funeral home.
I'm sure many of you have a Donnie Hughes story where he has helped you or someone you know. We know that our loss is also the loss for countless friends, colleagues, and loved ones. We will all miss him terribly but know that he is at peace with his Lord and Savior, Jesus, who certainly welcomed him with, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Donnie always said, "If you are going to do something, do it right." Thank you, Donnie for living and modeling what you said, and for taking care of all of us “from the womb to the tomb.”
And so, “Orange Dispatch… 204 signing off.”
We would like to thank the staff at the Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital: Cancer Care Center and Hospice of the Piedmont in Charlottesville for the loving care and support of Dad and our family throughout his illness.
We also want to thank our extended network of friends for rallying around us to provide the support we needed for Mom and Dad and for Laura, me, and the rest of our family.