August 13, 2021
John R. Hughes Jr. died at his home in Interlochen on August 13, 2021. He was born in Washington DC, in 1944, to Roland and Peggy Hughes.
For someone who loved horror movies, it seems quite fitting that he passed away on Friday the 13th.
He is survived by his wife, Susan; sister, Peggy (Burt), of Cadillac; her six children, Debby (Jason), of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Barb (Kevin), of Morton, Illinois, Cindy (Eric), of Thomasville, GA, Nancy (Rich), of Olathe, Kansas, Brian, d ‘Overland Park, Kansas and Linda (Sean), of Renton, Washington; as well as his 11 grandchildren. His parents died before him.
In May 1967, he married his high school girlfriend, Susan. They met sitting next to each other at a National Honor Society event while attending Ferndale High School and spent the next 54 years navigating life’s adventures together.
In 1966, John joined the US Air Force and proudly served his country in Vietnam. Upon his return from Vietnam, he graduated from the University of Michigan, College of Engineering, with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in meteorology. He began his 30-year career with the National Weather Service, which included the introduction of technologies such as NORAD and NEXRAD.
He was an avid college football enthusiast, hosting “Pick’em” family college football for several years, still supporting his Wolverines.
In 2001 John retired “Up North” to his home in the woods and returned to his lifelong passion for aviation. He was actively involved with the Civil Air Patrol, Wings of Mercy, Experimental Aircraft Association and Lifeline Pilots.
John, always the engineer with meticulous attention to detail, built Heathkit computers before anyone knew what personal computers were, rebuilt motorcycles, installed tongue-and-groove ceilings, and built his barn out of steel, which he called a giant assembly set. He had a positive attitude and the ability to learn and complete whatever he thought about.
John’s sense of adventure was formed at a young age traveling with his military parents and he passed on his spirit of adventure to his family. From the annual two-week family camping vacation with six kids in a pop-up trailer, to scuba diving adventures and of course his love of flying, including piloting a 30-hour trip to Seattle, he was ready for everyone until life slowed him down.
A funeral service will be held at Interlochen Bible Church, 2995 M-137, Interlochen, MI 49643 at 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 26. Military honors will follow at the Crematory Creekside, 801 Industrial Circle in Traverse City. Then a light lunch at the Golden Fellowship Hall in Interlochen will be served.
Instead of flowers, consider memorials, in honor of John, at Wings of Mercy, https://wingsofmercy.org/, Lifeline Pilots, https://lifelinepilots.org/, or Angel Flight of Michigan , https: // www .angelflight.com / donate.
Memories and condolences can be shared on John’s tribute page, www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
Published on August 22, 2021