HUGHEY, Richard M., Sr.
of Kalamazoo, Michigan
On July 4, 2012, with his wife Barbara at his side, and the room filled with the love of family and friends, Richard Merrill Hughey, Sr. valiantly surrendered to the Parkinson's disease he had been battling for many years.
Richard was born in Moorepark, Michigan on January 15, 1927 at the home of his parents, Florence Celeste (Bastian) and Burgess Earl Hughey. There were many nurturing opportunities in the small community among which was the experience of attending a one room school through the eighth grade. His education continued at Three Rivers High School, and it must be noted that earning Boy Scout merit badges, attaining the Order of the Arrow, and becoming the youngest boy in St. Joseph County to receive the rank of Eagle Scout took precedence over homework. Fortunately his studies did not suffer. In 1943, at the age of 16, Richard graduated from TRHS.
With his country engaged in WW II, Richard then joined the United States Navy. Following his honorable discharge, Richard's path eventually led him to Western Michigan College. He was actively involved in many organizations including president of Saber and Key, and ROTC which in 1952 named him outstanding cadet with the opportunity to study at West Point for two weeks. Upon graduating from Western Richard served as a United States Army officer during the Korean War.
In 1957 two significant events took place: Richard was awarded his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan School of Law. Then two weeks later on June 23, Richard and Barbara Joan Parham were married at Kanley Memorial Chapel on Western's campus.
As a Kalamazoo attorney Richard became President and Partner of Deming, Hughey, Chapman, Richardson and Bosch, P.C. He was a member of the State Bar of Michigan, American Bar Association, and served as secretary and president of the Kalamazoo County Bar Association.
Richard was a dedicated civic leader serving numerous community organizations including United Way, and board member of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. He especially enjoyed his membership and work with the First United Methodist Church. Richard continued his loyalty to the Boy Scouts by serving in many capacities including three years as president of the Fruit Belt Council; when the council expanded to become the Southwest Michigan Council, Boy Scouts of American he served three more years as president. He was honored to be awarded the Silver Beaver.
In 2008 Western Michigan University Foundation named Richard as recipient of the "Bill Brown Award for Exemplary Service and Leadership" which is described as "presented as warranted upon the recognition of the President of Western Michigan University. It is given to those alumni and friends who have demonstrated the exceptional depth, breadth and length of voluntary service exemplified by Willard A. "Bill" Brown, Jr. in support of the vital work of the Western Michigan University Foundation."
In 2009 Richard received the WMU Department of History's Alumni Achievement Award. Noted was his work with the WMU Foundation Board of Directors, Haworth College of Business Advisory Board, WMU Campaign for Excellence, and Alumni Association Board of Directors (president). Also mentioned: honorary member WMU Theatre Guild, Academy of Volunteers inductee, and President's Club. Additionally former WMU president Diether Haenicke named a Medallion Scholarship in his and Barbara'a honor.
Both WMU awards cited Richard's "incredibly significant role in the growth of Kalamazoo as a generous and philanthropically oriented community. In 1972, the late Irving S. Gilmore established the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation in order to guarantee that his philosophy of giving would continue in perpetuity. Dick was named the foundation's president and member of the board of trustees. Through Dick's leadership the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation has provided many significant investments in Western Michigan University and countless other Kalamazoo-area agencies and programs."
Although dedicated to his community, Richard was first and foremost a family man devoted to Barbara and their two children. Their son, Richard Merrill Hughey, Jr. bears his father's name, his professional interests, passion for the arts, and his commitment to the community. Daughter Elizabeth Ann also carries on her father's love of the arts and embodies his spirit of "giving back." Richard proved that family came first when he accepted the role of PTA president at his children's schools, and board president of the Kalamazoo Ballet Company.
Richard lived a rich, full, caring, giving life. He will be missed by the many who knew him well. Preceding him in death were his parents, brother Jack and sister-in-law Helen (Miller), sister Janet Wagner, nephews John Hughey and Kerry Southworth. Surviving are Richard's, wife Barbara, their son Richard, Jr. and his wife Patricia (Wichman) Hughey, their daughter Elizabeth and her husband Andrew White, grandchildren Megan and Logan Hughey, nieces and nephews---and devoted Cat Charlie.
If Richard were able to offer further comment, he'd say, "Well, I really liked music and played in the high school band, and sang in school choirs. I was an excellent swimmer—camp waterfront director at age 16, was pretty good at baseball, and really enjoyed golf. I guess I was quite a scholar; I loved to read, even textbooks, especially about history! And I loved to recite poetry! Above all, I loved to fly. Indeed, I was a pilot, and when we were pretty young, my buddy Charlie Kleinhuizen and I owned an open cockpit biplane we named Penelope. Remembering Charlie and our flying days are among my fondest memories."
A memorial service celebrating Richard's life will be held at the Irving S. Gilmore Theater Complex, Western Michigan University at 2 P.M. on Sunday August 5th.
No flowers, please. Instead you may wish to contribute to the Western Michigan University Foundation (College of Fine Arts), First United Methodist Church, Boy Scouts of America, or Kalamazoo Humane Society.
Arrangements by Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Read Richard Hughey Sr.'s Obituary and Guestbook on www.langelands.com.