Former Monroe athlete remembered by son as man who ‘loved making things beautiful’

David Hughes, an Armco/AK Steel retiree, died at age 69.

Brian Hughes remembered his father as a man who led by example whether that his work ethic, his love of music and gardening, his sense of humor or his giving heart.

David Hughes, a standout Monroe High School athlete who retired from Armco/AK Steel and supported several Middletown and Monroe organizations, died Jan. 24 after battling spindle cell sarcoma and pneumonia. He was 69.

“He was an all around good person,” his son said. “He was very talented in a number of ways whether that was athletics or always being there for his friends.”

At Monroe, Hughes was a three-sport standout, earning nine varsity letters in football, swimming and track.

Twice he was named Mid-Miami League honorable mention in football and played on the undefeated teams of 1969 and 1970 as a halfback, defensive back, kick returner and punter. In track he was part of a school record 880-yard relay team.

He was a member of the first swim team at Monroe in 1969 and was the first Monroe swimmer to qualify for state the same year. He was named the team’s most valuable swimmer three times and when he graduated, he held eight of the 10 swimming school records.

Hughes dated his future wife Becky in high school. They attended Dennison University and married in 1976.

He retired after 33 years as a senior outside processing representative in operations at Armco/AK Steel.

Brian Hughes said his father enjoyed working in the yard and gardening whether that was moving or splitting plants.

“He loved making things beautiful,” his son said. “He was really good at it.”

He was equally accommodating inside the house, his son said. He always made sure friends had a cold drink and a plate of food.

Hughes also took time to support local organizations, including the Middletown YMCA, Middletown Community Foundation, Middletown Arts Center and Monroe youth sports programs. For decades he supported art shows at the MAC in honor of his late mother, Betty Hughes.

Besides Brian, Hughes is survived by a daughter, Christy Hughes, and five grandchildren, Amelia Hughes, Mazzyn Hughes-Thurman, Gus Hughes, Braxton Thurman and Beckett Hughes-Thurman.

His body was donated to the Wright State University Medical School to help medical research. The body of his wife, Becky, who died from breast cancer in 2021, also was donated to WSU.

A celebration of life will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. May 6 at his residence, 5832 Hamilton Lebanon Road, Middletown.

About the Author