On September 11, 2012 I lost my dad…..but my loss is heavens gain.
Edwin Harrison Hughes, Sr.
Edwin Hughes of Hughes Road, Cody’s passed away at the Saint John Regional Hospital on September 11, 2012 at the age of 76.
Edwin was born in Cody’s on January 3, 1936; he was the son of the late Gordon Harold Hughes and Anna (Noddin) Hughes. He enjoyed playing the fiddle, doing cross word puzzles and reading. He was a Sunday School Teacher, Superintendent, Deacon and Prayer Group Leader. He joined the Gideons in February, 1978. He held positions of President, Secretary-Treasurer for the Queens Co. Camp before joining with the Fredericton Gideons. He was a farmer, a forest ranger and then began a wood contracting business with his brother Robin. He delighted in his grandchildren and made sure they knew he was praying for them daily.
He will live on in the hearts of Catherine Grace (Patterson) his beloved wife of 54 years; his son Edwin, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth of Cody’s; his daughter Susan Slipp and her husband Bradley of Darlings Island; his daughter Anna Grant and her husband Christopher of Guelph; and his son Andrew and his wife Patricia of Fredericton; his sister Doris Edling and her husband Don of Hampton; his brother Robin and his wife Cheryl of Sussex; and his beloved grandchildren Ryan, Shana, Nicholas and Erika McFarlane of Guelph; Jamie and his wife Cheryl and Miranda Slipp of Darlings Island; Jillian and Abigail Hughes of Fredericton; and Christina Shand and Maggie May Hughes of Cody’s as well as several nieces and nephews. Edwin was predeceased by his brothers John and Charles.
The family will receive relatives and friends that wish to say goodbye to Edwin at Wallace Funeral Home, 34 Sunnyside Drive, Sussex, (506-433-1176) on Thursday September 13th from 1-3 and 6-8 pm.
A service celebrating Edwin’s life will be held from Apohaqui Community Church on Friday, September 14, 2012 at 11:00 am followed by a time of fellowship with the family in the Church Hall. A private family interment will take place at Cody’s Baptist Cemetery.
Donations may be made to the Gideon Bibles, the Apohaqui Community Church or to a charity of the donor’s choice would be appreciated by the family.
You are the perfect example of how a man should live, love his family and care about the world and the people in it. You have always strived to live your life according to God’s will and to reach out to others with His message.
Your work here on earth is done and although we may not fully understand or appreciate God’s timing, it’s always according to His great plan for our lives.
God has called you home to rest, and there will be no more heartache, pain or suffering for you and we will take heart in knowing that your journey on earth is complete and you are safe in the arms of Jesus, where you belong.
I will miss my Dad, my children will miss their Papa, but you will remain in our hearts as we share our stories and memories of you over the days and years to come.
I always have been and still am, very proud to be your daughter and to call you my Dad.
My dad was taken to the hospital after taking a fall at home. After several CT scans and surgery’s it was determined that he suffered a stoke which caused the fall. My mom and my siblings spent most of the following week at the hospital waiting for things to improve, but sadly they didn’t.
We got the news of my dad’s passing shortly before 4:00am on Tuesday morning. When you have elderly parents every late night (or early morning) phone call is always feared to be bad news…..this one wasn’t unexpected but still a difficult call to receive…..especially since it was from my baby brother Andrew (2 whole years younger than me) who couldn’t actually say anything once I answered so his wife Patricia gave me the news.
Well there was no more sleeping after that call so I decided I needed to get up and start getting things ready for our trip to New Brunswick. We had most of the plans in place, financing, dog sitting, work places notified, etc., we just needed the arrangement details in order to know how much time we had to make our journey East.
My son Ryan and his girlfriend Whitney decided it was best for them to fly out due mainly to Whitney’s recent back surgery. My son Nick was unable to get the time off from his work, much to his and our disappointment, so he wasn’t able to make the trip. My daughters Shana and Erika, and my husband and I were travelling by car (return plane tickets for all four of us just wasn’t an option).
We left here at 10:30am (Ontario time), as we needed to make a stop at the Mall to pick up our clothes that were being altered. Fifteen hours, four gas and “grab a quick snack” and de-water stops later, we arrived at my brother’s house in Fredericton…..2:30am their time. My husband did all of the driving because I didn’t sleep anywhere along the way despite his urging me to do so just in case he needed me to take over at some point, by the time he was suffering from exhaustion I was certainly not awake enough to drive safely. After disrupting my brothers household we went to bed for what I thought would be 5 or 6 hours, just enough sleep to revive us so we could get back on the road first thing in the morning and drive the next hour to my mom’s house. We slept a little longer than that so it was afternoon before we arrived at my old home.
It was great to see my mom and brothers and families and we all sat around telling stories and discussing more detailed arrangements, like getting the flowers ordered and who wanted to do what at the service and so on.
We all needed to go to the church that evening to meet with the minister and work out the final details of the service. There were 19 of us plus the minister that evening sitting in a rather large circle sharing stories of my dad and putting the service into order. There were quite a few funny stories and anecdotes as well as some serious and thoughtful memories spoken.
Thursday was the visitation…..4 hours of hugging and greeting both familiar and unfamiliar faces. Despite the reason we were there it was great to see so many people, family, friends and acquaintances, that I haven’t seen for years. Some I didn’t recognize right away and others hadn’t changed a bit since I last saw them. I did wish I had longer to visit with some of my old friends but this wasn’t the time. The evening visitation was from 6:00pm until 8:00pm but people were still lined up to pay their respects after 8:00pm. Thursday was a long day but a very rewarding one seeing how many people wanted to come out and show their support for family and pay their respects to this man, my dad.
Friday morning was the funeral, and if funerals can be beautiful then to me this one was. It wasn’t so much a time of sadness, although you wouldn’t think that if you saw the tears and heard the snuffles, but to me it was a heart warming testimony to a man who lived his life well.
Our dear friend Scott Hoyt delivered the eulogy and there could not have been a better choice to deliver the words to speak about the life of his friend and my dad…..
These are some of the words he spoke.
How does one begin to write about their best friend after they have died? Today, my friends is so bittersweet to my soul that I fear I will not be able to do justice to a friend who means more to me than any of you can know. Today is not a day of sadness even though our hearts are heavy with loss. Today is a celebration of one of God’s greatest friends who is now at home. At peace.
Edwin Hughes was a wise man. He was simple. Honest. Hardworking. Dependable. Spiritual. Strong. It didn’t take me too long to also figure out something else about this wonderful man. If, at 20 years old, I wanted to make something of this life of mine I had just found a mentor that would help me to do so. I had found a friend that would stick by me like a father. He would guide me, train me, defend me like no other and would cherish me. The day I met Edwin Hughes changed my life forever. I had met a man of God.
Edwin would encourage me and validate my decisions as being God’s work and plan for my life. Every step of the way, right beside me, was my friend Edwin Hughes and his family.
I can remember many a visit to Edwin’s house. Driving in that long driveway and up the hill to see and talk to my friend. We talked about life, its difficulties and trying to find solutions. We’d talk for hours. After church and after suppers, in a corner somewhere, you could find Edwin and I talking about just about anything. Edwin always steered the conversation towards what the LORD wanted to do in our life. About the things of Heaven. He would talk about friends he was praying for and pursuing to share the message of God with. He taught me to love my enemies. Many times Catherine would go out to her car and have to come back in to a building to retrieve him. Sometimes she just gave up and asked if I could bring him home. A couple hours later I would.
Edwin was a survivor. He had faced open heart surgery before. He had brain surgery to remove a tumour. He had weathered life’s ups and downs. He would laugh. Sometimes he cried. Career changes. Business and economies. Personal losses of family. All these Edwin faced through eyes of faith. He was human. At times raw. But no one can contest how honest of a man he was and how he prevailed.
Edwin liked to reminisce about the members of his family. The Doney line. The Noddins. His mom and his dad. His brothers and sister. His grandfather who came to know Jesus. Stories about his cousins and his love for his wife, children and grandchildren. Edwin was clear that his greatest memory was in “Catherine agreeing to be [his] wife”. Undoubtedly, with 54 years of marriage celebrated, Edwin pinpointed that decision to be the pivotal moment in his life which gave him everything he enjoyed. He often gratefully would tell me how much she was the “strength in his life”. And this was a lesson I took for my own as I found my bride to share my life with. Always teaching me Edwin.
In wanting to be remembered Edwin feared often that he should always have done more for his family. I remember the story of how he changed his life when his children were young after a pastor came to visit him in his home. He was challenged to become a leader in his home. I know with all my heart that that was a challenge he embraced fully. I watched this man with his children. I listened to him as they faced changes in their lives. I witnessed his love for each of them and their children. There was a reason they called him “PAPA”. Jesus too used this in the Aramaic term “ABBA” to refer to his Father when he called him “DADDY”. Edwin was the living witness of this very person. A man who did not judge his family, who loved them and who cherished each one of them as individuals. A man who prayed continually for them and his community. The most important request Edwin left behind was that he wanted his “family to remember the love he had for each one in a special way”. I need not think he should have worried for this is his legacy. You are his legacy.
Edwin loved to bring life to the world around him. His ears heard the voice of God and he listened and followed. Many a person was unknowingly healed or strengthened by this man who prayed often from his car seat or from his hallway in the wee hours of the night while the world slept. He was private yet strangely outgoing. He was easily stung by harshness but bold in his faith. From sitting on fresh laid logs in the woods to the welcoming kitchen chair, when you sat and talked to Edwin, your life was changed.
I, like so many he blessed with his talents, will always hear him in my mind. Laughter. Words of encouragement. Prayers of endorsement. And hymns echoing from his fingertips as he prayerfully played his fiddle to comfort a friend or lead in worship. I hear him celebrating with friends he led to Jesus. I see him as a child, running with laughter. He was a man who righted wrongs, forgave past debts, humbled himself and championed for the weak. He was a man of silent strength. Weeping authority. Public faith. A Gideon dedicated to God’s service.
This was where some of the tears were seen and the snuffles were heard, and as much as Scott admired my dad, my dad admired Scott.
I was very proud of my children during this very difficult time for them as they stood in the receiving line at the funeral home and were introduced to hundreds of friends and family members that they had never met or had no recollection of having met since we have been gone from there for the last 12 years, and as they sat through the funeral service crying together at the words that were being spoken of their grandfather. They loved their Papa and despite the miles that separated them they were very close.
As the firstborn grandchild, my son Ryan was always very special to my dad and at the service he read Psalm 121: 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.3 He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
My dad had always asked my son Nick to speak at his funeral when the time came but since he wasn’t able to be there Ryan read his words for him: “On September 11, 2012 I lost my biggest fan, my mentor, my friend and my grandfather. He was one of the only people who ever saw me for who I could be not who I was that day and words can’t express how much of an impact he had on me and how much I will miss him everyday for the rest of my life. Rest In Peace Papa, I will always love you, your grandson Nick.” Again with the tears, both for my son Ryan being able to speak for his brother and for my son Nick’s heartfelt words. Only those that really knew the relationship that Nick had with his Papa would really be touched by those words and I certainly was.
At the end of the service my son Ryan left his seat and walked to the front of the church to have the Urn placed in his hands to carry his grandfathers remains to the hearse for the journey to his final resting place at the Cody’s Cemetery, I was never more proud of my son than I was at that moment, and of course since I wasn’t aware that he had been asked to do this, as Scott put it, “my eyelids were sweating” again.
The internment was very private with immediate family only. Once the urn was laid in the ground and family was starting to leave my husband and I wandered through the cemetery and my husband remarked that it was the perfect resting place for my dad as it sits along the shore of the Washademoak Lake and it is surrounded by lush trees and you can see the cattle grazing in the distance. All things that meant so much to my dad who was just a simple country man of God and lived a simple life to the end. As we wandered back towards our car to return home I stopped for a moment to thank the wonderful lady from the funeral home, who was patiently waiting for us to leave, for everything they had done over the past few days and she asked me if I would like to scatter some “yellow rose petals” over my dad’s remains. You may scoff at this but I saw it as an assurance from my dad that all would be well. Yellow roses are very special to me, yellow is my favorite color, yellow roses were my flowers at my wedding and yellow rose petals are what my husband and I had scattered all around at our wedding 12 years ago.
I feel that those last few moments were just between me and my dad and I will cherish that memory forever.
Chris, Shana and Erika and I had to leave on Sunday morning to face our 15 hour drive back home to return to work on Monday and now life has returned to normal for us. As much as we rejoice that my dad has gone on to a better place there is still a sadness within each of us that we will no longer have the privilege of hearing him preach to us or tell us stories from his past or just to remind us continually that he is praying for us. He was a great man who will be missed.
Edwin Harrison Hughes ♥ January 3, 1936 – September 11, 2012 ♥