Rev. Michael Hughes passed away suddenly in his sleep on the morning of May 4, 2022.
He was one of eight children born to Frank and Polly Hughes in Nashville, TN, on April 11, 1955. He spent his early years in Nashville and various parts of Texas. He attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he received a B.A. in Greek New Testament in 1977. He attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and received a Master’s of Divinity in 1982. While in graduate school he also served as an Air Force reserve chaplain.
Mike received his first pastoral call as an intern at the Hornbrook United Methodist Church in Bradford County, PA. This is a call that would shape the rest of his life, and Bradford County became home to him.
A woman in yellow pants asked him to lead a church retreat at Sky Lake camp. That woman was Lynn Hamill, and they were married at Maine Federated Church, Maine, NY, in May 1985. They were married until she passed away from cancer in 1997. They had one daughter, Bridget. Mike was very proud of his daughter’s accomplishments and emphasized to her, “I raised you to know and believe that as a woman, you can do anything.” Additionally, he was “Dad” to Kimmy (Venezuela) and Gabby (Ecuador) who joined the family as exchange students when Bridget was in high school.
Throughout his life, he served the following Twin Tiers churches as pastor: Rome United Methodist (Rome, PA), North Orwell United Methodist (Rome, PA), Maine Federated Church (Maine, NY), Warren Center United Methodist Church (Warren Center, PA), Providence Presbyterian (Scranton, PA) and First Presbyterian Church (Towanda, PA). He was active in campus ministry at Marywood University and served as the Volunteer Fire Department Chaplain in Towanda and Wysox for several years. He also was trained in disaster response and responded to all manner of crises throughout his long career.
In 2009, Mike furthered his education by completing a Clinical Pastoral Education externship. It was after this he received a long-awaited answer to prayer: he became the chaplain at Robert Packer Hospital. He was honored to assist so many families through the worst days of their lives—he said it was as if he got to walk into a room and say to Death itself “You are a thief and a liar. And I know you do not win.” He retired in 2020 to enjoy his time with his loving companion of 9 years, Dolly Powers, and they had many adventures together, including spending time with her family and grandkids. They all brought such joy to his life and a sense of home he had not felt in many years.
Mike’s newest thrilling role was that of Grandad with the arrival of Amelia. He was her own personal Mr. Rogers. She most enjoyed spending time in the hammock with him, going out to breakfast, and his hilarious animal noises.
He resided in his beloved cabin “Stillpoint” on Mount Pisgah in Troy, PA, which he and Lynn purchased early in their marriage. He was an active member of the Sylvania Presbyterian Church and volunteered at all manner of community activities.
You could hear Michael’s laugh and his voice before you saw him. He almost never needed a microphone. He loved hunting, fishing, hiking, and reading books in coffee shops, and was impossible to beat at Scrabble. He could hold a conversation about almost anything and could navigate many places from memory. He loved to sing but most of us would rather hear him eat.
He was an emotionally intelligent man, a man well-traveled, well-read, well-rounded, and most of all, well-loved. He built community like no other and taught us that relationships are the best things to invest in. He had the most thoughtful, nuanced Christian worldview of anyone you ever met.
Michael was preceded in death by his mother and father and his sister Colleen. He is survived by his daughter Bridget Mooney (Joshua) of Manhattan, KS; his sisters Kathy Cooke (Jim), Donna Blake, Sharon Bell (Bob), Peggy Randall (Tony), & Tammy Duffy (Mike); his brother Tim (Mary); his in-laws: mother-in-law Marceil, brother-in-law Don (Sue), and sisters-in-law Jan (Ed) and Diane. He was an uncle and great-uncle to many. In addition, he leaves behind wonderful friends too numerous to list.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to: Hezekiah’s Hands (which Mike helped found in the early 2000s), Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Annunciation House (El Paso Texas), or Samaritan’s Purse.
The family would welcome cards with favorite stories, memories, or pictures so that Amelia can know the life of her Grandad as she grows. These may be sent to Bridget Mooney, 2633 Elmwood Court Manhattan, KS 66503.
Visiting hours will be at First Presbyterian Church (5 Court Street, Towanda PA 18848) on Thursday, May 12, from 4 to 7 pm. The funeral will be held at the church on Friday, May 13, at 5 pm (doors will open at 4), with arrangements provided by Maryott-Bowen Funeral Home, Towanda. The Reverend Jeff Hale and several other pastors will preside. A private burial will take place on Saturday. Memories and condolences may be expressed by visiting www.bowenfuneralhomes.com.