By Daniel Loughrey, Assistant Director of Foundation and Corporate Giving
“Everyone Has A Story” Series from the PPh Perspective featuring: John Hughes, Ed.D.
On December 4, 1941, a young boy turned ten years old. He celebrated with family three days later at an aunt’s house in Broomall, PA. That evening, the family gathered around the radio to listen to the Charlie McCarthy Show with Edgar Bergen. News of the attack on Pearl Harbor broke during the show and ten-year old John Hughes got into the car with his mother and aunt and they returned to their home in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.
John Hughes was born in Philadelphia in 1931. He spent the first 22 months of his life at St. Vincent’s orphanage in West Philadelphia before he was adopted by Dr. Elizabeth Hughes. Dr. Hughes never married and she raised John as an only child with her sister in Overbrook before moving her practice and family to Allegheny Ave. and eventually to Winchester Park in 1956. John would live in Winchester Park for the next 52 years before moving into PPh in 2008.
He worked in industry while he studied business at La Salle College, but he soon realized that his calling was to serve youth. This was cultivated while he was serving as a Scoutmaster for several years in the late 1950s and early 60s. He was a member of St. Jerome’s Parish when Cardinal O’Hara mandated that all of the parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese form Boy Scout troops, and he happily volunteered when Father Fitzgerald announced the need for scoutmasters to lead the St. Jerome’s troop. He then became certified in secondary education and went on to receive his graduate degree in elementary education and then his doctorate of education in educational administration from Temple University. He initially taught elementary school in Philadelphia before moving on to teach in Abington at Cedar Road Elementary and eventually becoming the principal at Marple Elementary in Marple Township in 1965.
In 1960 he attended a jamboree along with 55,000 Boy Scouts from across the country in Colorado Springs. President Eisenhower was also in attendance, and it was surreal for John to be so close to the man whom he had read war stories about as a child during World War II. Although his time as a Scoutmaster lasted less than ten years, it was an unforgettable experience that launched him into a long career of serving youth in the Delaware Valley.
John currently enjoys volunteering around PPh and traveling each summer. He has customized his van and he uses it to take a trip each year. This past year he drove across the country to Las Vegas and spent a few weeks at his time-share. Although he is retired, it is safe to say that John will not be slowing down anytime soon.