People filled the Our Lady of Grace Church Tuesday morning to pay tribute to Richard G. “Dick” Hughes, 75, a man who touched so many lives and helped so many people in a gracious, unassuming manner. Mr. Hughes died on October 16. He was 75 years old.
Family members, friends and colleagues at the Massachusetts State House, where Mr. Hughes worked in the House of Representatives for 36 years, joined together to remember a man who, at 6 foot 3 inches tall, had a larger than life persona and could light up a room with his warm personality and hearty laugh.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria led a large delegation of city officials in attendance. Pope John XXIII High School President Kay Donovan brought the respects of the school community where people came to admire Mr. Hughes through his wife Rosemary’s involvement at the school.
Mr. Hughes’ daughter, Rosemary A. Hughes, delivered a beautiful and touching eulogy, telling the assemblage that her father “would be so honored, as we are, by such a beautiful tribute to this extraordinary life.”
She said her father was the quintessential gentleman, who believed in loyalty, ethics, God, family and country. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War and in his daughter’s words, “one patriotic American.”
Rosemary A. Hughes said her father’s greatest asset was his family and she told of how Papa loved “his eight perfect grandchildren” and how proud he was of each of them. Speaking on behalf of her sisters and brother, she said, “He was our hero, our biggest fan, our confidant, and our greatest ally.
“He was my best friend on this Earth – Dad, you can rest assured that we learned by your example,” said Ms. Hughes.
Addressing her beautiful mother, Rosemary, who shared five joyous decades of marriage with her father, Ms. Hughes said, “You were his strength, his anchor, and the center of his universe. The truth is there is just no greater love than what you had for each other. Together you were just fabulous. That love made your children who we are today.”
Concluding her heartfelt remarks, she said her father “died like he lived, with dignity, with purpose, and surrounded by love. Have a nice day, Dickie. My dear, dear father, and until we meet again, Dad, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.”
Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash worked with Mr. Hughes on the staff of State Rep. Richard Voke for many years at the State House. Mr. Hughes was in charge of district operations and oversaw constituent services.
“Mr. Hughes loved Chelsea and doing things for Chelsea,” said Ash. “He was a great guy – a guy we all aspire to be like. He was universally liked at the State House. This outpouring of tribute that we’re seeing here today at the church and yesterday at the funeral home is a testament to what he meant to so many people.”
Former State Rep. Robert Donovan said he was an usher at the wedding of Richard and Rosemary Hughes. “We grew up together and played ball together,” said Donovan. “He was interesting man and well respected in the community. Obviously, this morning by the tribute you see at the church, he was loved and admired by all. His daughter, Rosemary, did a superb job with the eulogy and made us all proud to be a friend of his.”
State Sen. Thomas McGee, whose father, Tom, served as Speaker of the House, also warmly remembered Mr. Hughes. “Mr. Hughes worked at the State House with my dad and I had a chance to work with him as well in the House and the Senate. He’s just a tremendous guy and really epitomized what’s best about the State House. He knew everybody but he really was about helping people. He always had a smile on his face. His passing is a big loss for all of us.”