In Memory of Mary Hughes
The role a mother plays in the household are many. Mary Hughes was a mother, wife, grandmother, aunt, and more. She created beautiful memories and did above and beyond for those she loved. The food she made, the little gifts she gave, and the love she shared were the greatest blessings.
Mary Hughes was born and raised in the rural south of Mississippi in 1938. At a very young age, she made the decision to move to Chicago, and from there she met the man she was going to marry, Willie. Andre, her youngest son, shared a few memories he had of her, he states, “Hard-working was an understatement, she did above and beyond to provide for her two boys.” With the way Andre spoke about Mary it was evident that she put all her energy into investing in her family, giving them all the things she never had. In the late 50s and early 60s, she made the decision to take business courses and worked retail as a customer service representative. She then left and worked for the Postal Service in a management position. Shortly after meeting Willie, they had two children together, Andre and Danny.
She kept working after her two children were born, Andre recounts, “Without a question she was hard-working, she would have to take two or three buses and the L train to get to work. I remember that very vividly. The second thing is committing to provide us with things she didn’t have growing up in the South. Growing up in the South, as a Black person you may not have your own room, you may or may not have a bed, you may or may not have three meals a day, and you may or may not have shoes. For Christmas, it was a treat if you had an orange or apple. So she was very committed that we were well and that we were in school getting an education. She made sure we had toys for Christmas”.
Mary Hughes invested everything she had and showed her children a different world where her two sons could prosper. Andre states, “Christmas was always a memory in our household. During Christmas time she would bring my brother and I Hersheys kisses after she returned from a long day at work, we would get so excited to receive these small gifts. Then she would say, “Save it for when Christmas comes.” Mary was a creator of memories and always gave her love in the form of giving. Especially with meals. Andre states, “Her soul food would bring entire families together. Traditionally, to create great soul food was a badge of honor, it represents a rich history, it was creativity, to be able to create with limited resources, and bring families together. It was a badge of honor” He remembers how she created these memories from the kitchen to the dinner table.
Once her two sons reached college, they went on to graduate and achieved great success that every mother wishes upon her children. She saw them reach their fullest potential and continue to grow. I asked Andre, “What were her thoughts on the trajectory of your career?” And he went on to share that his mother was beyond proud. "Any opportunity she had to talk about it, she sure took it!" She was proud that her son was brought to a position to positively impact the world and share his resources to combat racism, health inequities, and access to education. More specifically we discussed PbA’s work around diabetes prevention, and what his mother's thoughts were on this matter. Andre follows with, “I think if she would have known the dangers of salt and sugar early on, she probably would have done things differently. The information we have of diabetes now was not easily accessible back then.”
Mary Hughes passed away on July 3rd , 2022. She fought the hard fight against diabetes complications and is now laid to rest. Her spirit has elevated leaving behind her husband Willie, her son Andre, her daughter-in-law Sabrina, her two grand children, Brent and Courtney, and other beloved family members. I asked Andre, "What was a valuable lesson or thing that she taught you?", and his response was, “Not to succumb to negative thoughts and how to pray” We need grounding techniques in order to prosper in the right direction, and that’s what Mary instilled in her family. The power of thought and the power of prayer.
I asked Andre, “How do you think she wants to be remembered? What is her legacy?” He reminisces with, “How much she loved her grandchildren, her faith, her friends, and her family.” She embodied the ideologies of a mother and carried herself with so much grace. A mother, a grandmother. A wife, a friend, and a believer of God.
Mary Hughes’ story is one that every hard-working mother can relate to. She gave her children and the people she loved such a warm and loving environment. The valuable lessons of life that she instilled in her children is what led to the creation of this technology platform. In memorium of her passing our team would like to help other women who are going through the same fight against diabetes. Powered by Action has partnered with BWHI, to end this fight and provide Black women with the knowledge they need to combat this disease. This will give future generations the tools to fight against diabetes and live longer, healthier, and joyous lives with the ones they love. Mary’s legacy continues to exist in this platform and the gracious energy she left behind is the power behind Powered by Action.