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Joseph William “Billy” Hughes, 79, of Salem, a former Baker City resident, died Aug. 3, 2006, at his home.
Billy was born on Jan. 21, 1927, at Concordia, Kan., to George Aurthur and Beatrice Iola Gerard Hughes. He was raised at Concordia, Kan., where he also attended school.
Billy left school at Concordia to serve in the U.S. Navy. During his duty he was commissioned on the LSMR Rocket Ship to Pearl Harbor. Billy was very proud to serve as a crew member on his ship.
He and his family had the opportunity to revisit the LSMR Rocket Ship after it was retired. While in the Navy he developed a love for boxing and became the fleet champion.
After his service in the Navy, Billy moved out West. Upon arriving in Baker City, he worked as a projectionist for the Eltrym Theater and was a bar bouncer.
Billy then followed the trend of the area and worked in the mills. After the mill closed, he worked several years as a ranch hand on the Shawn Ranch and for Staggs and Weber at Keating.
In the ’70s he changed professions and became a grounds and building maintenance man. He worked for St. Elizabeth Hospital and at the Baker County Fairgrounds. Billy moved to the Beaverton area in 1976 and worked for St. Mary’s of the Valley for several years.
Billy retired and moved to Wamic, which was everything he loved. Billy loved the country and being around the farm animals, especially the work horses. Every day he lived there he had a beautiful view of Mount Hood and said he was living in God’s country. Due to his illness, he later moved to Salem.
Billy was married twice; first to Barbara Lee on April 30, 1955. She is the mother of his five children. They spent most of their married life living in Baker County. He then married Cecil Minor on Aug. 19, 1972.
In marrying Cecil, he acquired a large extended family. Billy’s family was the most important part of his life. He worked hard to provide for them and was always there when he was needed. He loved his family very much.
Billy was very mischievous and loved to prank his friends and family. When Billy had “that” smile you knew he was getting ready to pull something. He also had a dog named Ming who he loved very much. No other dog could ever replace Ming in Billy’s heart.
Billy hunted with his family for many years. In the early years he hunted with his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews and then with his children when they got old enough. Billy also enjoyed fishing and the ocean.
Billy was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He also volunteered with the Baker County Sheriff’s Department.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Beatrice Hughes; a sister, Pearl Huff; and brothers, Archie Hughes, Kenneth Hughes, Eldon Hughes, and Ernie Hughes.
Survivors include his children, Cathy Murray, Robin Hughes, Bradley Hughes, Donald Hughes, and Ronald Hughes; grandchildren, David Murray and Kristi Merideth, Clarissa Winn, Christina Self and Christopher Hughes, Christopher Winters and Heather Hughes, Bobby, Brandon, and Brianna Hughes and William Christy; and nine great-grandchildren; sisters, Gladys Newlin, Marceline Edison and Alice Carlton; a brother, Danny Hughes; Barbara Hughes Cropp; Cecil Hughes Cutshall; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, August 11, 2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor