Kenneth Eugene Hughes
October 18, 1922 – August 11, 2017
Kenneth Eugene Hughes was born on October 18, 1922 in Wetumka, Oklahoma to William Warren Hughes and Pearl Ethel Watson. He passed away on August 11, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma at the age of 94.
Kenneth graduated from Moss High School in 1941. Using the GI Bill from the military, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Distinction in Agronomy in 1951. Kenneth then completed a Master’s Degree in Agriculture/Agronomy with a Major in Soils from Oklahoma A&M College (now OSU) in 1953. Kenneth served his country in World War II from February 1943 through December of 1945. He achieved the rank of Army Staff Sergeant while working as a medic and later became a part of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) serving in Burma, Ceylon, India, Siam and Thailand. As one of his assignments, Kenneth parachuted behind enemy lines and trained Thai soldiers in jungle-warfare. For his military service, Kenneth was awarded 2 Bronze Service Stars, a WWII Victory Ribbon, a Good Conduct Medal, and one Bronze Arrowhead. He was also given the Santimala (Peace) Medal by the King of Thailand.
Ken and Tressie Picket were married in June 1948. To this union, Linda was born. Tressie passed away in January 1951. He married Dorothy Cherry in October 1957. Ken and Dorothy would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year. They were deeply devoted to each other and their loving family.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents and in December 2007 by his brother, Harvey Hughes. Kenneth is survived by wife Dorothy, 4 children: daughter Linda Hughes and husband Racy Welcher of Punta Gorda, Florida, daughter Jeanette Hughes Burkholder and husband Rick of Rowlett, Texas, daughter Ramona Hughes McGee and husband Greg of Bullard, Texas, and son Timothy Hughes and wife Neva of Tuttle, Oklahoma. Kenneth was a proud grandfather to 13 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren. He was also blessed to have numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends.
Ken worked as a Soil Scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley (Harlingen, Texas). He also worked as an Agriculture teacher with the Wetumka School System and with the Indian Conservation Services in Idabel, Oklahoma. But his love for farming kept returning him to his land in Wetumka where he worked most of his life. Ken was a diligent and innovative farmer and rancher. He was among the first in Hughes County to make the change from traditional dry land peanut farming to using irrigation. For 20 years, he meticulously applied the science of genetics to develop a new variety of peanuts. In 1988, he was granted U.S. Plant Variety Protection 8700094 for his hybridized special peanut variety KH20. Kenneth was recognized and granted an honorary plaque/award for his outstanding and unselfish service to the Oklahoma Peanut Growers Association in March 1978.
Ken hired James Sorrell to help him work the farm and ranch in 1966. Well into his 80s, Kenneth was asked when he would retire, “I will retire when James is old enough to retire”. Kenneth had that kind of commitment. James worked for Kenneth helping to manage the land and equipment raising peanuts and herding cattle for 44 years through both good and difficult years.
Ken and Dorothy faithfully attended the Faith Freewill Baptist Church in Holdenville until he became a resident of the Norman Veterans Center in April 2015. Dorothy moved to Norman, to be near her beloved, Ken. She devoted her days to help care for him at the VA. Kenneth served his Lord and Savior with integrity and a heart of compassion for all those around him. He stood for truth and righteousness.
Kenneth was an intelligent, hard-working farmer, a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, a faithful friend, and a true servant of the Lord. He will be greatly missed by all who loved him. We know that he is now in heaven, once again whole in mind and body.
Funeral services will be held @ 10 am on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at the Faith Freewill Baptist Church (123 N. Oak Street) in Holdenville, OK. Officiating will be Brother Earl Scroggins, Faith Freewill Baptist Church, Holdenville, OK. Pallbearers will be his Grandsons: Eric Burkholder, Daniel Burkholder, London McGee, Samuel Hughes, Nicholas McGee, Jackson McGee. Honorary Pallbearers will be James Sorrell, Wendall Dilday, Tommy Summy, David Smith, Mike Hughes, Steve Hughes, Glen Hughes. Burial will follow at the Holdenville Cemetery. Visitation will be held at Hudson-Phillips Funeral Home on Friday, August 18, from 6 to 8 pm.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Hudson-Phillips Funeral Home in Holdenville, OK (301 N. Main Street). The online registration/guest book may be signed at www.phillipsfuneralservice.com
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Youth Center at the Faith Freewill Baptist Church of Holdenville.