Hugh F. Hughes
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It is with sadness and a profound sense of loss that we announce the passing of Hugh F. Hughes Jr., president and co-founder of Outside the Lines (OTL). Hugh passed unexpectedly, yet peacefully, on Monday, March 20 following complications from surgery. He passed as he lived, surrounded by family and friends who not only loved him, but who recognized the many contributions he made to his family, his industry and to his larger community.
Those of us who had the privilege to personally work with Hugh throughout his 40-year career remember and honor the passion and artistry Hugh brought to his work. He was a dynamic, creative force with a style that was all his own. He was as comfortable sketching fountain designs at a drafting table as he was testing water lines and nozzle sprays on a muddy job site. Hugh’s hardhat and signature handlebar mustache have marked dozens of construction sites around the world, where he had the enviable talent of turning everyday construction materials into unforgettable entertainment experiences. He was simply the best in the business, and he made others around him strive to be the same.
Although his persona in the themed entertainment industry is almost legendary, it’s Hugh’s lesser-known work and commitment to people with challenges that will so deeply move others. Remaining true to his early calling as a mental health professional, Hugh spent many hours of his life helping people in need. He regularly counseled correctional facility inmates and contributed his time to promote job skills and positive self esteem in the mentally and physically challenged, including fellow Vietnam veterans who lost use of their arms and legs from war injuries. Regardless of a person’s circumstances or position in life, Hugh was driven by his belief that every individual deserved respect and everyone’s life could be improved by the strength of the human spirit. To many, this is where Hugh performed his most valuable work.
Our industry has clearly lost an icon, but we have also lost a valued and authentic friend. Many of us today will wonder about our own legacy and what we will leave behind. In Hugh’s case, it includes not only what he has physically created, but also the good he has woven into the lives of others. On this measure, Hugh will not only be missed. He will certainly be remembered.
We can think of no better way to honor Hugh than by continuing the work he inspired and so dearly loved.
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