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John W. Hughes returned to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on October 5, 2023 surrounded by his loved ones. John was the eldest son born to the union of Lester Eugene and Leona Irene Hughes on July 19, 1949. John was born in rural Brown Township, Washington County, Indiana near the stream called Twin Creek where he spent his early days enjoying the life of a country boy on a small farm.
John entered Campbellsburg Elementary School in 1955. John’s love for history began early in his life. While in first grade, he was brought before the entire assembly of the school and recited all of the US Presidents, forward and backwards! John continued his education in the Campbellsburg School until his sophomore year when the West Washington School Corporation was formed. John graduated from West Washington with the Class of 1967. He was honored to be asked by his fellow classmates to speak on their behalf at their 50th alumni banquet in 2017, to which he received a most humbling, standing ovation.
As a child, John attended Mt. Carmel Christian Church. In 1961, when the Hughes family moved to Campbellsburg, the family began attending the Campbellsburg Christian Church. John and his brother, Jim, were baptized Easter Sunday, 1965 and became members of the church. John was a dedicated and active member of the church for 35 years. He served as a Deacon, Sunday School Superintendent, Church Clerk and his favorite service, Song Leader. Several years ago, John returned to his church roots of Mt. Carmel Christian Church where he served as a Deacon and Song Leader. Several generations of the Hughes family are buried in the Mt. Carmel Cemetery located next to the church. John was honored to serve as a Trustee, Sexton and Treasurer of the cemetery. His interment will be in the cemetery near many loved ones.
Upon graduation from high school, John chose the field of mortuary science. He attended Indiana College of Mortuary Science in Indianapolis graduating in the Class of 1970. John returned to Washington County and joined Ed and Helen Hollis of the former Hollis Funeral Home for four years until their retirement. In 1974, he formed a partnership with Dwayne E. Taylor and purchased the Hollis Funeral Home. Three years later, they established Hughes-Taylor Funeral Home and opened a second funeral home in Borden, Indiana where John lived for 12 years. The many friends he made while living there remained close throughout his life. John maintained his funeral director's license and was a current member of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association prior to his passing.
John changed careers in 1994, attending and graduating from Ivy Tech School of Nursing in Bloomington as an LPN. He was proud to be the Department Head of Restorative Nursing at Paoli Convalescent Center for 7 years. He later worked in home health care until he was past 70 years of age.
Growing up in Campbellsburg, John had always admired the Wilkins Brothers homes and secretly had always wanted to own one. Purchasing one of the homes became a reality in 1994. He and his wife, Rhonda, and the children moved to Campbellsburg and spent countless hours attempting to restore the home back to one of the crowning jewels as it was 100 years before. During their time in Campbellsburg, John was an active member of the Campbellsburg Betterment Organization. He served as the chairman of the 150th celebration of the Town’s founding in 2001.
As everyone knows, John’s passion was local history and genealogy. He became a member of the Washington county Historical Society at the age of 17 in 1966. He remained a faithful worker serving as a Director, as well as the Treasurer for several years. He enjoyed working as a guide for school tours in the Stevens Museum. He also helped with reading old census records and transferring them to books. John enjoyed researching cemeteries and completed Brown and Jefferson Township Cemetery books in the 1980’s. John was often contacted to do research for out-of-county researchers and spent thousands of hours researching for their Washington County ancestors. He was honored to be asked to speak for the 50th anniversary of the John Hay Center in 2020. In 2016, John authored a book entitled Reflections: A Bicentennial History of Washington County which remains an excellent resource for researchers in the genealogical library of the Stevens Museum. He had a vast collection of genealogy and local history material which he donated to the Historical Society in 2022.
John spoke often of the great reunion that will be in heaven when he will join his family there. Greeting him to his eternal home are his parents, Eugene and Leona; grandparents, Virgil and Anna; and a favorite aunt and uncle, Kirby and Mary Hughes, all of whom helped instill in him his love for history.
Left to cherish his memory and endless stories are Rhonda, Sarah, Lauren, Landon, Karly, Trevor James, Kiki Mei, Sailor Moon, Jim, Matthew, Dwayne, Geneva, Karen, Scott, Dawn, Brian, Kim, Jeff, Cheryl and Rondale; the Taylor grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and many, many friends.
Visitation will be held Friday, October 13, 2023 from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Hughes-Taylor Funeral Home-Salem Chapel and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until time of service. Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 14, at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home with Bro. Ben Pennington officiating. Committal services will follow at Mt. Carmel Christian Church with Brother Jeff Weinsheimer officiating. Private interment will be in Mt. Carmel Cemetery.